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Gov't to present Free SHS bill to Parliament

The Free Senior High School (SHS) bill is set to be presented to Parliament in the coming months.

Free SHS

This bill is a significant step to formalise and sustain the Free SHS policy, which has been a major initiative of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's administration since its inception in 2017.

The policy aims to provide free education at the senior high school level for all Ghanaian children, which has significantly increased enrollment and educational opportunities.

In the 2024 budget, the government allocated GH¢3.9 billion to support this programme, demonstrating its commitment to maintaining and enhancing the quality of education provided under this initiative.

The presentation of the bill to Parliament is a crucial move to ensure the policy's longevity and institutionalisation, making it a permanent feature of Ghana's educational system.

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This legislative action is expected to provide a more stable framework for funding and implementing the policy, addressing any challenges that have arisen since its implementation​.

Briefing the press on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, Majority Leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin announced that the bill aims to enhance the policy's effectiveness and sustainability, in accordance with the goals outlined in Chapter 5 of the Constitution.

He clarified that although these provisions are currently not legally enforceable, the government intends to make them justifiable through new legislation.

He said "I'm also able to report that the Education Minister will present the Free SHS bill to Parliament. The chapter five of the Constitution provides some aspirational indicatives. Those are not justiciable, but once by a policy of the government, an aspiration as a message by the constitution is put into action then to make it justiciable, you enact."

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The Free SHS policy has been credited with improving educational outcomes, as evidenced by the impressive results of students in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), with a significant number of students achieving grades that qualify them for tertiary education​.

This bill, once passed, will reinforce the government's commitment to education and is anticipated to further accelerate the country's development by equipping more young Ghanaians with the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute to the economy.

Some Ghanaians have called on the government to review the free SHS policy. The review encompasses various aspects including its impact, benefits, challenges, and overall effectiveness.

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