GNAT demands stakeholder engagement on Free SHS policy
The General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Thomas Musah, has called for a stakeholder engagement to discuss how parents could contribute to the free senior high school (SHS) programme.
He said there was the need to consider parents’ input towards the effective implementation of the programme, especially in relation to prevailing challenges in the system.
Speaking on a wide range of issues in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, Mr Musah claimed that the government subvention for free SHS was in arrears for over three years now.
“The free SHS is a very good policy; it is an excellent policy and we all embrace it and we think that it is the way to go, but the implementation is a challenge.
“The cash flow challenges are having a ripple effect at the basic education level, and as we speak now, the capitation grant for basic education is in arrears for over two years,” Mr Musah added.
According to the general secretary, with any major intervention or project, there was the need to take stock and review ways to make the project better, and that the general consensus on the free SHS was that the government must allow parents to support the system
“Government, you cannot do it all alone, you can’t,” he added, saying, since there were challenges in the policy, it was only proper that the government went back to the people to seek their input on how to address them.
According to Mr Musah, parents, old students and other stakeholders were ready to help and, therefore, inviting them to get their input would be significant to the success of the programme.
He said building the country needed all hands to be on deck.
Mr Musah also said the call for the review was in line with the government vision as contained in its 2023 Budget Statement to Parliament.
The general secretary further claimed that the cost of some flagship programmes of the government ranged between GH¢4 billion and GH¢6 billion and, therefore, reviewing them would result in some savings to the government.
“Flagship programmes, as indicated in the budget which the government has promised to review, should be reviewed now, those that we can suspend, let us suspend them, and those that we can cancel, let us cancel them so that we cut our cloth according to our size,” he said.
At the moment, Mr Musah said, almost every programme of the government was in arrears due to the lack of funds, and cited the National Health Insurance Scheme and Ghana Educational Trust Fund as some of the organisations that were being overstretched.