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Free SHS reforms: Parents who want boarding status for their wards should pay - EduWatch

Education think tank, Africa Education Watch, has suggested a reevaluation of Ghana's Free Senior High School(Free SHS) policy, proposing that parents choosing boarding options should cover associated fees.

Free-shs

In their report titled 'Financial Burden Analysis of the Free SHS Policy and Implications on Equitable Access,' EduWatch recommended reserving free boarding for students in underserved communities.

"In the medium-to-long-term, the MoE must develop and implement a strategy to gradually transition Ghana’s secondary education system from the current boarding-as-a-norm to day-as-norm. Free boarding secondary education should be reserved strategically for students in underserved communities where there is no reasonable commutable access to a secondary school," the report stated.

It further suggested that parents, despite the option for free day schooling, opting for boarding status should bear the full cost. This approach, Eduwatch argues, would allow the government to generate additional revenue to complement the Free SHS initiative.

"The MoF must improve the disbursement of funds under the free SHS policy. The timely availability of funds (especially at the school level) to procure items that were previously ‘smuggled’ into prospectus is critical to sustain compliance with the current moderate, harmonized prospectus. This will also improve the availability of adequate foodstuffs and other Teaching and Learning Resources in schools to reduce the financial burden on some parents to supply provisions to their wards in school," the study recommended.

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This call for a nuanced approach aims to balance the financial aspects of the Free SHS policy while ensuring equitable access to education, as EduWatch emphasizes the importance of effective fund allocation for an improved teaching and learning environment.

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