Selorm Branttie, Director of Strategy at IMANI Africa, has stated that his organization has been justified in its requests for the Free Senior High School (FSHS) program to be reviewed or suspended.
According to him, IMANI Africa predicted the present policy financing issues, so it’s “a type of IMANI told you so” moment.
He highlighted in an appearance on Joy FM’s News Night on Thursday that the policy was a significant burden from the start.
“As far back as 10 years ago when this policy was mooted during the campaign of the NPP in the 2012 election, IMANI sounded a very big warning about the fact that this was a kind of a trojan horse that will bring complications in the future,” he said.
He added that, “unfortunately the reality has caught up with us and we now have to grapple with very hard decisions because we have nurtured this kind of freebie mentality to be pervasive in the psyche of the modern Ghanaian parent.”
His remark came after Kennedy Nyarko Osei, an Akim Swedru MP, suggested that the government halt its flagship Free SHS scheme and four other social intervention programs.
These measures were proposed by the MP in response to growing public anxiety about the looming economic issues.
According to Mr. Osei, the government might recuperate roughly GH5 billion to GH6 billion if the flagship Free SHS scheme and other social measures are suspended.
For the next three years, he urged that the government put the money saved towards young employment and the manufacturing industry.
In answer, Mr. Branttie stated that the Free SHS program had cost an average of $400, $500 million per year.
The issue with the policy, according to him, is that “the populist approach was taken without looking really pragmatically at what could have been done to improve on the policy”.
“we are now bearing the repercussion of some of this hasty action.” he remarked, referring to the rushed decision.
He advised that the policy be revisited in order for it to be effective.
“The mistake we have made as a country is that we have failed to realise that our secondary school system is largely dependent on boarding facilities which makes it different from the kind of model that you have in other countries, where most secondary or level education is done through day schools and therefore funding or subsidising the education in such day schools are easier than running such a platform through boarding schools without doing any kind of means-testing and then expecting that we would have resources that are infinite pulled from the skies to be able to run these things in perpetuity,” he highlighted
Meanwhile, Professor Stephen Adei, an economist and Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission, has called for a re-examination of the government’s flagship Free Senior High School policy.
Despite the multiple benefits of the Senior High School policy, Prof. Adei explained in an interview on JoyNews’ Upfront with Raymond Acquah on Wednesday that the policy is stretching the already strained economy because government has to allocate roughly GH7.5 billion every year to the policy.