Spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Kwasi Kwarteng, says the government is not burdened by the challenges being experienced within the country’s education system.
According to him, these challenges which are often attributed to the free SHS policy predate the policy and are in fact systemic to Ghana’s education system.
“If you premise the whole conversation about burden on the challenges that we have within the education system then I remind you that a lot of these challenges have been systemic. Even before the free SHS we had some of these challenges almost systemic or recurring.
“Let’s look at issues of food, before free SHS there were issues of food; before free SHS there were challenges with accommodation; before free SHS we also had challenges with books and what have you,” he said.
Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he stated that while these challenges are recurring, it is the responsibility of government to manage and mitigate their effects efficiently and as well proactively find solutions to the problems.
Citing government’s handling of the food shortage issue, he said, “I mean, recently look at the challenges that we had within our food supply chain for instance largely occasioned by inflationary pressures.
“I mean, it is evident that within this country and all over the world inflation has surged, and even though you may have your suppliers probably be on standby to supply the food to the various schools, this time around they’re saying that they’re unwilling because at the time they supply and at the time they get their monies you’d realize that their monies will devalue.
“So that’s when the Minister of Education really had to intervene and say that no look, there has to be some emergency response to, there has to be some broad payments and we also have to liaise with some banks who may also have to come in, pay the suppliers on time whilst the government reimburses them.”
“These are all proactive steps that have been used to mitigate some of the challenges that we have. So yes the challenges may be there, but if you want to take the challenges based on the facts that the present…it is also fair to look at the solutions that have been proffered to the challenges and ask the fundamental question whether or not those solutions have been able to remedy the situation,” he added.
Meanwhile, he noted that while the conversation concerning the free SHS is often steered towards government reviewing the policy to institute a burden-sharing one with parents, he stated that most people miss the fact that taking into consideration the current dire economic situation in the country, the government bearing the cost of secondary education is in a way a social intervention.
“Indeed to sustain that logic, other schools of thought have also argued that in this trying economic times, is that not even the more reason why government should cushion parents by helping them with payments of tuition, by providing free food and what have you. So you have to look at the argument from all other views,” he argued.
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