Free SHS: Stop the chest-beating, fix the challenges – Suhuyini to Akufo-Addo

Tamale North Lawmaker, Alhassan Suhuyini has asked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to stop giving himslef a pat on the back following the implementation of the free senior high School (SHS) programme and address the challenges the programme is saddled with at the moment.

He said Mr Akufo-Addo must be reflective, open-minded and accept the concerns raised against the implementation in order to address the issues.

Mr Suhuyini was speaking on the New Day show on TV3 Monday December 13 with host Johnnie Hughes after Akufo-Addo expressed utmost satisfaction with the Free SHS policy, introduced by his administration in September 2017, that is currently guaranteeing a minimum of senior high school education for all of Ghana’s children.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “five (5) years on following the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme, which has guaranteed a minimum of Senior High School education for 1.6 million Ghanaian children, I want to state, without any equivocation, that I am very proud of the policy and of its results thus far.”

Speaking at the 70 th anniversary celebration of the Tamale Senior High School (TAMASCO) in Tamale, on Saturday, 11 th December 2021, the President stressed that the experiences of developed nations have shown that the most efficient way to create a society of opportunities, and, thereby, guarantee the future of a nation, is by investing in education and skills training of the youth.

Without an educated populace, he stated that, Ghana cannot transition from the status of a developing to a developed nation, adding that “it is the people of Ghana, Ghanaians like you and I, and especially the youth of today, who are going to build Ghana.”

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The results of the 2020 and 2021 WASSCE results, the President stated, give further evidence of why the Free SHS policy has been a success so far.

“There were some who described Free SHS as “a waste”; some said it would “destroy our Ivy League Schools”, and some indicated that the policy was going to compromise the quality of senior high school education. None of these have happened, and I am sure they have eggs on their faces now, or should have, President Akufo-Addo stated.

He continued, “The 2021 WASSCE results of the second batch of the “Akufo-Addo graduates” shows 54.08% of students recording A1-C6 in English, as opposed to 51.6% in 2016; 65.70% recording A1-C6 in Integrated Science in 2021, as opposed to 48.35% in 2016; 54.11% recording A1-C6 in Mathematics, as compared to 33.12% in 2016; and 66.03% recording A1-C6 in Social Studies, as compared to 54.55% in 2016. Lest we forget, the 2021 batch of students were the pioneers of the double track system, which elicited a lot of vilification and unfounded criticism on its introduction.”

Another indication of the value of the Free SHS policy, he stated, is the dramatic increase in the percentage of students from TAMASCO, who have qualified to attend University.

“In 2015, it was 29.2%; in 2016, it was 31.4%; in 2017, it was 34.7%; in 2018, it was 31.3%; in 2019, it was 46.3%; and in 2021, it was 45.8%. Surely, Chairperson, there can no longer be any controversy about the validity of the Free SHS policy and its consequential measures. It is working,” he said.

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The President, thus, appealed to all Ghanaians to “forgo partisan, parochial considerations, which confer little benefit, and all agree that Free SHS has to be a part of our national educational architecture, for, at least, a generation, if not forever. Our nation will clearly be empowered and enriched”.

But Suhuyini who is also a former teacher and broadcaster said “You don’t taunt those who say we have a problem over here.

“Those who raise issues get taunted by the president, it tells you that there is something wrong. The attitude of the president is wrong. The president must stop the chest-beating.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana