Free SHS greatest thing to’ve happened to us, let’s polish it, preserve it & make it available to anyone-Rector, GIMPA

Rector of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Samuel Kwaku Bonsu has described the free Senior High School policy as one of the greatest things to have happened to us.

He believes that the policy must continue to be free, accessible, and available to anyone who needs to attend secondary school.

He said despite the challenges associated with the policy, we have to preserve it, polish it and keep it running.

He was speaking at a Public Lecture on consolidating the gains of the free SHS Education Policy; Protecting the Legacy for Future Generations.

The lecture was in honour of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo today, March 29, 2022 in Accra, at GIMPA.

It was organised by the Institute for TransGenerational Leaders.

Professor Samuel Kwaku Bonsu commended President Akufo-Addo for taking the bold step in implementing the policy which he said increased enrollment significantly and offered opportunities to those who would have stayed home due to their inability to afford it.

To him, the free SHS by this administration formed the basis as a potential equalizer for the provision of education for the marginalized.

He said education is a major drive for social-economic development and the implementation of the policy was crucial in enhancing that.

He admitted that there have been challenges following the implementation because since it was rolled out, the popularity of the policy was swift, led ro high enrollment, classroom deficit, shortage of teachers, learning and teaching materials, overcrowding, delays in the release of funds.

He was however quick to add that, despite these challenges, we cannot water down the benefits of the policy.

He indicated that we have seen some level of improvements with equity attained although some have issues with the quality.

He insisted “if we believe education is important, then we should protect the free SHS because it is the best thing to have happened to us. Free SHS should continue and be polished up and be made accessible, available to anyone who needs to attend Senior High School”.

In suggesting solutions to some of the challenges mentioned, he said he was not an expert but was sure infrastructure was one of the major issues that affected the policy.

He said because of the policy, some private secondary schools were affected because enrollment increased in our public secondary schools.

This led to a lot of spaces in the private sector and the government instead of rushing to build new schools should have partnered with the private school owners so their facilities are leased to the government at a fee to provide space for the increased number in enrollment.

This he noted would have helped to reduce the stress on the policy and the rush to build new facilities as well as keep private schools in business.

He again posited that education is an investment that can help our children defend Ghana’s future and prevent it from threats and if we can do that through free SHS, then the investment is worth it.

On the argument by some persons for the government to allow the rich to pay, he had a different opinion adding that Ghana does not have the mechanism to measure who is poor or rich.

“I am not sure how we measure poverty in Ghana,” stressing that we only depend on statics provided by the World Bank and others “but we lack the mechanism to measure who is poor and so, it is a problem we need to approach”.

‘In the meantime, I believe that much like we have done for the national cathedral, we can set up a fund for the free SHS and invite voluntary contributions.’

He asked the Finance Minister to consider setting up a Heritage Fund for free SHS and invite proceeds from the government, corporate Ghana, individuals, foreign donations among others.

Prof. Bonsu is past President of the International Society for Markets and Development (ISMD), a society that brings together scholars and practitioners of development and has been a member of the Association for Consumer Research, International Association for African Business & Development and American Marketing Association.

He is the current Chairperson of UN PRME Africa – a United Nations initiative that supports responsible business education. He serves on the governing boards of several entities including Cornerstone Advisors, Federated Commodities, Golden Link Savings and Loans, Emerging Public Leaders and Association of African Business Schools.

He is Patron of TEN GHANA, a youth-oriented organisation that seeks to change Africa through entrepreneurship, the body that organises the McDan Entrepreneurship Challenge.


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