Ofori-Atta’s ‘honesty’ about free SHS ‘too late’ – Pratt

Veteran journalist, Kwesi Pratt, says the Finance Minister’s suggestion that the Free Senior High School programme must be targeted at persons with genuine need and not made to benefit everyone has come ‘too late’.

Speaking on Metro TV, the managing editor of the Insight newspaper said even though Mr Ken Ofori-Atta was being candid with the facts, he would have done the public a lot of good if he had said that during the electioneering campaign in 2016.

“Mr Ofori-Atta was honest with the facts! He was being truthful with the facts on the ground and that must be appreciated but the minister and the NPP were confronted with all the facts and figures during debates.

“They refused to listen to advice and carried on with the campaign promise after winning the elections, so for me, it has come too late,” Mr Pratt stressed.

In an interview with Citi TV on Tuesday, the Finance Minister said: “True, it may be that there has to be changes in the way we are administering it. I can’t take my child to Achimota or Odorgono and leave him or her there and drive away and not pay for anything whiles I can pay for ten people.”

But before the government can move away from the way the policy is currently being implemented, Mr. Ofori-Atta added: “we need to begin to get the data to then be discriminatory in how and who pays and who doesn’t pay.”

The argument for the Free SHS to be targeted was made prior to the implementation of the policy by some groups like IMANI Africa and the National Association of Graduate Teachers, NAGRAT.

After just a year of implementation of the policy, government has moved to introduce a double-track system at the senior high school (SHS) level.

The government has said the double-track (semester/sandwich) system is to cater for the spike in enrolment into SHSs due to the free SHS policy.

Full implementation of the new system is expected to cost GHS323million.

The objective of the double-track system is to create room to accommodate all the students, reduce class size, increase contact hours and increase the number of holidays.

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