NDC may not review Free SHS or end the double-track system — Kofi Asare

Despite the numerous advantages of the much-touted Free Senior High School policy, the already worsened economy is being stretched by the policy because the government has to allocate about GH¢7.5billion every year to the programme.

Free SHS

Kofi Asare, the Executive Director of the education think tank, Africa Education Watch has added his voice to the challenges facing the Free SHS programme.

He said the National Democratic Congress (NDC) may not review the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Free SHS policy if it wins the 2024 general elections adding that the party in power may not be able to walk the talk though it has promised to review the policy which many believe has deteriorated Ghana's educational system at the senior high level.

Reacting to the double track system, an intervention that allows schools to accommodate more students within the same facility, Asare said the NDC will not end the shift cycle.

"I do not foresee Free SHS being an issue. Right from the start, there was a debate as to whether or not it can be rolled out. But now the conversation has changed. If you look at the NDC’s manifesto, they were now talking about expanding the programme to cover private schools. NDC also said that they were going to end double-track.

"From where I stand, I don’t see NDC doing anything different. If there will be any review to allow parental participation, it has to happen under the NDC… That is why we are putting pressure on the government. NDC may not want to come across as touching the NPP's programme, knowing fully well that Ghanaians like free things no matter the policy," Asare said on Accra-based on Citi FM.

He added that the Ghana Education Service (GES) needs to take things gradually on its decision to return to the old academic calendar which was adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think that we must understand that our education system has not been the same as a result of the double-track and the Covid-19 pandemic. And we are yet to get it back on track," he noted.

The double-track policy is only being adopted in schools that are in high demand across the country as the government works to improve infrastructure.

It was meant to ease student pressure on some public schools.

The double-track system was accompanied by a semester system for schools.

The semester system will be maintained even when adequate infrastructure is put in place and the double-track system is ended.

Though the government put a five-to-seven-year timeline on the policy the NDC had plans to end the policy in a year.

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