A Policy analyst and member of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) Dr. Steve Manteaw has urged government to immediately hold a national dialogue to explore ways to address the challenges bedeviling the free SHS policy.
He said the financing challenge that has confronted the policy was preempted by experts from the beginning.
There are fears the policy, which has been touted the flagship programme of the Akufo-Addo government, cannot be sustained due to challenges with financing. The government in an attempt to increase revenue streams to sustain the project has set up a fund to enable private individuals and organisations to contribute towards the programme.
Speaking to Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Tuesday, Dr. Manteaw said a national stakeholder conference will enable Ghanaians appreciate the nature of the challenge and also help with solutions.
“Government should immediately organize a National Dialogue on Free SHS so that we can address the challenges. A national dialogue that brings together all stakeholders will be a very good start to addressing the Free SHS challenge. The understanding I got earlier was that funding of Free SHS must come from oil revenue but I don’t know what is happening. I am not really surprised that barely a year into the program, we have challenges with the financing. At the conception of the Free SHS program, I mentioned that if we are not careful, we’ll run into challenges,” he said.
Also contributing to the discussion, child rights activist Bright Appiah asked government to be receptive to criticisms about the policy.
“The Free SHS policy emanated from a political desk and people will like to criticize it, there will be opposition. Anyone who raises concerns with the Free SHS is not against the policy and we must get that clear. The Free SHS policy is something that has come to stay and we must support the process”.