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Pre-tertiary unions goe after Education Minister over Free SHS bill

Pre-tertiary Teacher unions have called on the Minister of Education to suspend the free Senior High School (SHS) bill and allow for broader consultations.

According to leadership of the unions, the Education Minister should focus on introducing an Act to fund the free SHS instead of a law to legislate the policy.

They spoke exclusively to our labour correspondent, Daniel Opoku in Accra on July 3, 2024.

The pre-tertiary teacher unions recalled various education policies to improve on education in the country. They emphasised on the Anamuah Mensah education policy which sought to improve on senior high school education.

They also cited the Education Regulatory Bodies Act 2020, Act 1023 and the pre- tertiary Education Act 2020, Act 1049, geared towards improving on the teaching and learning on the education front.

They expressed surprise that the current Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum intends to lay in Parliament a free SHS Act without consultation.

General Secretary of GNAT, Thomas Musah Tanko, asked government to consider introducing a funding Act instead of free SHS bill.

According to GNAT, government should also consider addressing challenges relating to capitation grant and other issues affecting the education sector.

“Whilst we are talking now, School Feeding {Programme} is a problem, how do we sustain the 1.4 million students we have in school, how do we sustain them, how do we sustain the basic school and the KG? We need an Act now and the Act now is funding for pre-tertiary education in Ghana, this law can be put aside for now,” he suggested.

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President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu also called on the Minister of Education to suspend the free SHS Act and allow for consultation.

“I want the President to stop sending any bill of a sort to Parliament. They should suspend it immediately and allow wider stakeholder engagement and also call on the Parliamentary Select Committee to desist working on any such document that has been sent to them by the president,” Mr Carbonu said.

The President of the Coalition of Concerned Teachers, King Ali Awudu pleaded with the sector minister to engage the stakeholders.

“We have a law on pre-tertiary education, and you are bringing this? What difference is it going to do? The 1992 Constitution already talks about the fact that after 50 years of coming into force basic education should be free. So, there are already constitutional provisions backing the free Senior High School policy, so if you want to bring in a free SHS bill, it is just good that you carry us along,” he stated.

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