The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Association of Bankers, John Awuah, has called on the government to review some of its flagship programmes, especially now that the country is experiencing economic crisis.
According to him, the Free Senior High School programme in its current state, is wasteful and does not help the current dire economic situation in the country.
He stated that the government could review the Free SHS policy such that it only targets community day schools and the needy in society.
He said, “Why is the government paying my children’s school fees? I did not ask for it. Why is Free SHS free for me? Why is it free for people like me and a lot more people who have not asked for it?”
He noted that the poor implementation of the Free SHS policy was due to the lack of reliable data on Ghana’s demography, leading to blanket implementation of social interventions.
“We always hide behind the absence of data and every social intervention we do blanket application to both the rich and the poor. So the rich put their children in primary schools and pay thousands and thousands of school fees and then when they get to secondary school they get it for free.
“I can’t just bring myself to understand this. There is a way of finding out brilliant, not even brilliant, the needy students, and the needy parents whose wards in the secondary school may need support,” he said.
He added that it is only in Ghana that the government is offering free boarding facilities to students.
“And one other thing, there is no country, I’ve done my checks, no country under this sun that gives free boarding education. America doesn’t do that, the UK doesn’t do that, Australia doesn’t do that, Germany doesn’t do that, these are the countries we visit to take money to subsidise our education and then we give free boarding education.
“Free breakfast, free lunch, free supper, free uniform, free shoes, free books, free tuition, electricity, water from a poor country? I’m not sure that is how you solve a problem when you’re sitting on a huge fiscal gap and all you’re doing is taking actions that will further broaden the fiscal deficit,” he said.