‘Free SHS law’ needed to prevent political interference – Atugba


    A Senior Law lecturer at the University of Ghana Law School, Dr. Raymond Atuguba, has asked the Akufo-Addo government to pass a legislation making the Free Senior High School policy binding on future administrations.

    He has expressed fears that if such legislation is not passed, the policy may collapse as it could be abandoned by a different political party that assumes power.

    Dr. Atuguba was speaking at a constitution review conference at Dodowa today [Friday], on retooling the constitution from political to a developmental one.

    “Let’s say that if NDC [National Democratic Congress] wins 2020 or 2024, you know they can cancel free SHS, you know that? What sense will that make? But right now without a binding national development plan, they can do that. With a binding national development plan, once you put in the plan that every government must work progressively towards free SHS, then no government can [scrap the policy].”

    “…and we even added that before a government do that, a citizen can go to the supreme court and stop them,” the lecturer added.

    Dr. Atuguba is of the hope that a legislative instrument, through constitution review, will protect the Free SHS policy from political interference.

    Politicizing education

    Personalities from the Opposition NDC have already used words like ‘hoax and unsustainable’ to describe the government’s free SHS policy.

    Observers have criticized the two main political parties, the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress, of politicking the educational sector, an example being the back and forth on the duration of SHS education.

    The NPP administration, under President John Kufuor, introduced the four-year Senior High School programme in 2007.

    However, the NDC reverted to the 3-year system after it regained power in 2009.

    Upon assuming power in January 2017, the Akufo-Addo government has again indicated it is seriously considering extending the length of secondary education to four years again.

    The Minister of Planning, Professor Gyan Baffour, in September 2017, said the government was monitoring the three-year SHS system to inform a possible review back to four years.