Government finally admits Free SHS beneficiaries are not well treated

Back of students dormitory

The government of Ghana has finally accepted that beneficiaries of the free SHS policy have not been well catered for as planned, according to leader of government business in parliament Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu

Mr Kyei Mensah-Bonsu who is also the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader on Kumasi-based Hello Fm on Tuesday, said the situation could have been better.

Free SHS was a key policy campaign tool by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) led by Nana Akufo Addo prior the 2016 polls.

Some political analysts have said the party won massively because of the policy’s inclusion in its manifesto.

The NPP after winning the election did not disappoint Ghanaian citizens when it rolled out the policy to cater for the first 400,000 students from various Junior High Schools in the country

Though many suggested, the implementation should include all students, the government indicated that only first years will benefit and subsequently the rest are rolled onto it.

But it has received lots of criticisms mostly from media reportage on its shortcomings. In some instances, reports suggested some students have had to sleep under trees due to lack of dormitory accommodation. Dining halls have to be converted into dormitories for students to have a place to lay their heads.

In several occurrences in the early stages of its implementation, head teachers who attempted to take money from parents to solve some situations like these were either fired or transferred.

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has said the policy would not be fruitful.

With all these complains and reportage from the media, government refused to accept there were challenges observing that these were only temporal and could be resolved in soon as possible.

However, on Hello FM on Tuesday, Mr Kyei Mensa-Bonsu accepted the criticisms and said the government was going to address them amicably.

“Most of the schools we visited, authorities alerted us that some facilities like dining halls were not large enough to contain students. We have admitted the students, but our facilities are not enough to cater for them,” the minister was heard quoting some school authorities.

He also said school authorities called on government to raise funds for the completion of most facilities at various schools for smooth administration blaming the opposition for not fully funding projects started by their predecessors John Agyekum Kufuor, hinting that, government is going to make provisions for that in today’s budget.