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NDC Never Paid For Progressively Free SHS

The previous government under President John Dramani Mahama failed to make payment for the progressively free Senior High School (SHS) it had introduced before exiting office, Education Minister. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has disclosed.

Responding to a supplementary question posed by Member of Parliament for Trobu, Moses Anim on whether the Minister inherited arrears on the progressive free SHS for day students initiated by the previous government, the Education Minister said not a dime has been paid for the policy which was started in 2015/2016.

‘’Mr Speaker, the progressively free SHS that we all applauded, that was started in 2015 by the statement of his Excellency John Dramani Mahama in the bawls of this house, was to the effect that for day students, it started in 2015/2016 academic year and it continued to a 100, 000 students in  boarding schools for the 2016/2017 academic year, by the time his Excellency the President , Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo came into office, for those two years, 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 not a fatten has been paid’’ he stated.

Briefing the media, Mr. Opoku Prempeh said the previous government was in the process of extending the progressively free SHS initiative, its second year to cover 100, 000 students but not even a single scholarship was given to the beneficiary students of before the exit of the Mahama administration.

In a response to a substantive question by Member of Parliament for Akatsi North, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe on the floor concerning details of the free SHS that started this September on the floor of Parliament yesterday, Matthew Opoku  Prempeh said all approved fees by the Ghana Education Service (GES) for first year students for the 2017/18 academic year including fees payable once, all recurrent fee items, feeding fees and core text book has been absorbed by government.

The absorbed fees payable once a year by first year students include admission fees, maintenance fees, cumulative records, medical examination fees, two sets of school uniforms, two sets of House dresses, school cloth, P.E. Kits, 9 exercise books, 4 Note books and one supplementary Reader/3 Core English Literature Books.

All recurrent fee items absorbed by government according to the Education Boss who is also MP for Manyhia South includes utilities, examination fees, library fees, practical fees, entertainment fees, Science Development, Teacher motivation among others.

The rest of the fees that government has absorbed include feeding fees for three meals for boarders and one hot meal for all day students in first year as well as provision of a full complement of core textbooks to all students in first year.

The total fee that by each day and boarding students are supposed to be paid but has been absorbed by government are GHC 748.47 and GHC 1, 104.27 respectively.

The Minister also stated that every Ghanaian child who is placed into a Public Second Cycle Institution by the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) during the2017 placement period is eligible to enjoy free SHS for a period of three years except foreigners and continuing students repeating in form one.

He stated that the National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) is currently supplying schools with food items on credit basis until government reimburses the company.

According to him Government is not oblivious to the challenges confronting the implementation of the free SHS policy and has therefore initiated some emergency measures such as the commitment of Ghc 80 million for the procurement of furniture to curb the infrastructure needs of the schools.

In a quick response to the Minister’s accusation, a former deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa refuted the claim.

He explained that the previous government made part payments leaving some arrears that needed to be paid and did not leave without making any payments.

Source: Christian Kpesese

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