The Executive Director of the Street Children Empowerment Foundation(SCEF), Mr. Paul Semeh, has welcomed government’s Free Fee Senior High School educational policy but has urged caution in its implementation since according to him ‘we have fully not addressed the problems which have enmeshed the implementation of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education( FCUBE).’
Mr. Semeh spoke to show host Akyena Brantuo on Ahotor FM’s Mmabunu Mmre(Time with the Youth) on Saturday 25th February 2017.
He argued that as a stakeholder in Ghana’s education,’ whose organization spends thousands of Ghana cedis to fund the education of some 150 street children in Jamestown from primary school level to that of the tertiary level, I will be most joyous if this burden is absorbed by government.’ ‘This will be laughter for one of my eyes. ‘ He added.
‘However my other eye is bruised to tears given the challenges which has almost thwarted the implementation of the ‘Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) ‘ ‘. He stressed.
In his respectful view ‘ notwithstanding the fact that the United Nations Charter on the right of the child puts Education as a human right, we must be guided as a nation by our own constitution which states that education should ‘BE PROGRESSIVELY FREE’ ‘. He added
‘We must be particularly concern about these:
Do we still pay some fees at the basic levels of education in Ghana?
What is the status of the Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman’s led Complimentary Basic Education Policy Framework and the Inclusive Education Policy , passed in November 2013, which are still in their infantile state and have just been piloted in only 53 out of the over 200 districts and which were introduced to correct the failures of the FCUBE and to help achieve the Millennium Development goal two which is ‘Universal Basic Education ‘ which Ghana was struggling to achieve ? Paul quizzed.
Mr. Semeh is advising government not to proceed on the basis of fulfilling a campaign promise but should be guided by the facts on the ground.
He argues that the watery manner in which FCUBE was implemented is telling on the quality of results of pupils from the public schools according to statistics from the West African Examination Council (WAEC) .
Mr Semeh demonstrated with figures that over the years records at the Examination council indicates that whereas private schools excel with 92 percentage pass rates, public schools trail behind with an average of 42 percent with some schools regularly scoring zero.
Paul recommends broader consultation with all educational stakeholders, clearly identifying the sources of funding since aspects of our basic education is still funded by International organization such as USAID, and also addressing all the perinial challenges that still bedevil SHS education such as delay in salaries and other allowances for teachers before government proceeds with free SHS.
Meanwhile government has served notice that the implementation of the free fee policy kicks off in 2017/2018 academic year. This was contained in a statement read in parliament on Tuesday.
According to graphic online the president says “so that no one in Ghana is left in any doubts…by free SHS, we mean that, in addition to tuition which is already free, there will be no admission fees, no library fees, no science centre fees, no computer lab fees, no examination fees, no utility fees; there will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals, and day students will get a meal at school for free.”
Daniel Koranteng Kwagyiri|ahotoronline.com|Ghana