Free SHS policy, not a failed one – Education Minister


The Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, has stressed that the Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy is not a failed one because it has improved both access and quality tremendously.

According to the education minister, who was speaking at the 75th anniversary commemoration of Dormaa SHS, the pass rate of most schools has increased exponentially since the introduction of the FSHS policy in 2017; therefore, the policy cannot be said to have reduced quality or failed.

He emphasised that the improvement of the pass rate of Dormaa SHS from 21 percent in 2016, before the introduction of FSHS, to 89 percent in 2020 is a true reflection of the impact and the story is not different from almost all the other schools.

“This feat chalked by the Dormaa SHS, I describe it as a true reflection of the impact being made by the FSHS policy which has not only increased enrolment but quality as well. The steady improvement in the academic records of these schools across the country is a clear indication that the policy has not failed but made a good impact on education in the country,” he said.

More than 1.6 million students, as of the end of 2021, have benefitted from the government’s flagship education programme, which is also an indication of improvement in access.

Furthermore, the minister reiterated the government’s commitment to continuously invest in the education sector to support the transformation of the nation’s economy through education and skills development.

Though some stakeholders have expressed concern about certain challenges that have emerged from the implementation, the minister is optimistic that such challenges would be dealt with as the policy progressed. He called on parents and other key stakeholders in the education sector to assist the government to ensure the policy is sustained to achieve its purpose.

Paramount Chief of Dormaa, Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Dr. Agyemang Badu II, on his part, indicated that the country stands to benefit a lot from the FSHS policy if well-implemented. He, therefore, called for all-hands-on-deck approach to make it successful.

Benefits of the policy

To ensure that no child is denied access to education, the Free SHS policy was introduced to provide key requirements such as tuition, meals for both boarders and day students, textbooks, library, boarding, science laboratory, examination, utility fees, and school uniforms.

The FSHS policy, since its inception, has enrolled more school-going children on the street, and the biggest beneficiaries of the policy have been members of the deprived communities. Without the policy, many children would have dropped out of basic education level due to financial difficulties.

The Free SHS policy, as indicated by state officials in the past, has seen a rise in secondary school enrolment from 800,000 to 1.2 million, and has also closed the gender inequality gap significantly as the sector is close to achieving gender parity at that level.

The introduction of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and the addition of free Technical Vocational and Education and Training (TVET) education have helped to strategically empower more youth with economically competitive skills.

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