Sunday, 14 July

'Free SHS made it difficult for middle-class families to find house girls' – Bawumia

Vice-president Mahamudu Bawumia

Half of the 400,000 extra students who benefitted from the Akufo-Addo government’s free senior high school programme were girls – a situation that deprived most middle-class families of house helps – since the girls’ parents went for their wards from such homes so they could access free secondary school education, Vice-president Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed.

Speaking at the launch of the Konkomba Education Endowment Fund on Sunday, 7 November 2021, Dr Bawumia said: “An additional 400,000 students have benefitted from Free SHS half of them were girls; many of whom would have been at home because their parents could not have afforded [SHS education]”.

“In fact, when we implemented Free SHS, a lot of middle-class families in Accra and the other cities were finding it difficult to get house girls because the parents of the girls came for them and put them in school”, he noted.

“So, Free SHS has been very beneficial for the girl-child in education”, said Dr Bawumia.

Justifying the policy, Dr Bawumia said: “We introduced Free senior high school education to create equal opportunities for the poor without compromising quality”.

He said despite the good intentions of the policy, “there were those who opposed and bastardised” it.

“They said ‘it was a hoax; a 419 promise’."

"They said if they had GHS2 billion, they will not spend it on Free SHS. They said Free SHS would collapse the education system", he recalled.

“In fact, if we had listened to them, if we had listened to them, Free SHS would not have happened”, Dr Bawumia insisted, “But, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stuck to his guns and we successfully implemented the Free SHS policy”.

He observed: “Thankfully, the predictions of doom for Free SHS have not materialised”.

Buttressing his point, he said: “The recent results of the first batch of Free SHS graduates, has shown that quality has not been compromised”.

“Indeed, the 2020 results of the WASSCE candidates is the only year in the past six years that more than 50 per cent of the candidates who sat the examination, obtained between A1 and C6 in all core subjects. This is the first time in six years”.