Alexander Afenyo-Markin — Majority Leader
Alexander Afenyo-Markin — Majority Leader

Free SHS bill to be laid in Parliament - Majority Leader discloses

The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, is to present to Parliament a free Senior High School (SHS) Bill during the current meeting, the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, has announced.  


He said if the House considered the bill and enacted it into law, it would have legal backing, making it mandatory for all governments to implement the policy. He explained that unless the bill was repealed, no government would have the right to “say that I am not going to enforce the free SHS because there is a law.”

“If a government fails to implement the policy, a citizen can apply to the court as his bonafide and the court would exact justice in that citizen’s favour, and that is the good news about this bill,” he said.


Speaking at a leadership engagement with the members of the Parliamentary Press Corp (PPC) in Parliament last Thursday, Mr Afenyo-Markin said “the chapter of the Constitution provides aspirational indicatives, which are not justiciable.

“But once by a policy of the government, an aspiration, as envisaged by the Constitution, is put into action and then made justiciable, as you enact a bill to enforce it,” he said.
The meeting allowed the leadership of the House to interact and brief the PPC members on the agenda before the House.

Regulating policy

Buttressing the essence of enacting a law on the free SHS programme, the Majority Leader said there were provisions in the Constitution that could not be enforced and “you cannot claim the right to those provisions”.

He explained that the fact that those provisions existed did not mean that “you can apply to the court to enforce those rights as they are merely aspirational.” “Now, when it gets to the point where a government lifts it to give life to it, there is the need to enact a law to regulate same. In doing so, it would have been given life to become justiciable to allow a court to rely on it to make orders, enforce certain rights and take certain actions,” he said.

He, therefore, expressed the hope that the ability of the House to pass the bill would make the free SHS policy enforceable, regardless of the government in power.

The MP for Effutu added that the fact that the bill is being introduced to Parliament means it would not be an end in itself. “It is even at that point that you open it up for all views to be entertained; so the committee that will handle the referral will have the opportunity to listen to civil society organisations and get the bill enriched,” he said.

Bills to be considered

The Majority Leader said the House would consider a number of bills during the current meeting, including the Parliament Bill, the Presidential Transition Bill, the Consumer Protection Bill, the Housing Authority Bill, the Architect Registration Bill, the Economic and Organised Crime (Amendment) Bill, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Vaccine Manufacturing Bill.

“Others that the House would also consider were the Affirmative Action Bill, legal instruments, as well as constitutional instruments,” he said. He added that the Minister of Finance would also appear before the House to present the mid-year budget review before the end of July.

Stop sensationalism

With the December polls drawing closer, Mr Afenyo-Markin acknowledged that there would be so much election heat in the country. He, therefore, urged the media to ensure that “unnecessary sensationalisation of issues are not brought to the front burner.”

The Deputy Clerk-to-Parliament in charge of Finance and Administration, Emmanuel Djietror, appealed to the media in concert with unity of purpose to promote Ghana’s democracy. 

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