Economist and lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, Professor Lord Mensah has advised government to reconsider its free Senior High School (SHS) policy as a means to mitigate the economic challenges confronting the country.
According to the financial analyst, government ought to cut down on its discretionary spending.
He maintains that the Free SHS policy should be targeted at households who truly cannot afford the fees of their wards.
“Government may have to look at expenditure lines, particularly, discretionary ones like Free SHS. They should look at how they can select the poor who are really in need or those who are in need of it, so we leverage on that investment to reduce the government’s burden on necessary expenditure”, the economist suggested.
In its sixth year of implementation, major stakeholders in the education sector and some politicians have called for the review of the free SHS program in order to relieve the government of the financial burden it poses in its current state.
The Free SHS policy is under scrutiny because of problems with feeding and to an extent infrastructural challenges.
These issues have led some schools to consider shutting down because they struggle to feed their students.
High schools have struggled with a shortage of food items because of funding and supply constraints.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured that the Free Secondary Education Policy will not be affected by the International Monetary Fund support the government is seeking.
While the IMF’s Resident Representative to Ghana, Dr Albert Touna-Mama, has said the Free SHS policy will not be cancelled, he noted that there need to be conversations about how to make the policy more sustainable.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has also said a review of the Free Senior High School policy remains a constant possibility.