A renowned lecturer at the Department of Economics of the University of Ghana, Dr. Adu Sarkodie, has said President Akufo-Addo’s flagship SHS policy without adequate infrastructure is not free education.
Dr. Sarkodie proposed that the current free SHS education policy ought to be reviewed to cater to the needs of quality, equity, and inclusivity, among others.
In his view, Without the aforementioned ingredients, one cannot say the country is enjoying free education.
“We cannot have free education where children study under trees. We cannot have free education where there is no basic infrastructure in the schools. We cannot have basic education where basic things like chalk and markers are not available in the schools. We cannot have free education where the pupil-teacher ratio is that high. So, we should all redefine free education to include quality, equity, inclusivity, and all that,” he said.
Dr. Sarkodie made the comments on Thursday, November 9, when he mounted the podium at a Media General-Star Ghana-organized Thought Leadership Forum.
The forum is themed ‘Financing Basic Education in Ghana’.
The lecturer appealed to the government to find pragmatic measures to ensure quality in Ghana’s education sector in order to boost productivity and grow the gross domestic product (GDP).
“Until we get there, we cannot boast of any free education in this country.”
The Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare,when he took his turn at the Forum, called on the government, the Finance Minister, as a matter of urgency to budget for the deficit in text books in junior high schools.
“On the tracking of textbooks in basic schools, while the textbooks are not adequate, they represent a significant improvement from the baseline.
“Sixty-five percent of the textbooks required in the four core textbooks at the primary level—mathematics, English, creative arts, and science—are available in our schools. Thirty-five percent of the textbooks are not available.
“There are distribution issues, so some districts have more than they need, and some districts have less than they need. So apart from the distribution, we need the remaining 35 percent.
“In our meeting with the Minister of Finance two weeks ago, we indicated quite clearly that we want to see the deficit of the textbooks being budgeted for by the Minister of Finance in this year’s budget.”