Cabinet has approved a proposed credit of $156 million from the World Bank’s International Development Association to finance the construction of Community Day Senior High Schools (SHS) across the country.
Citi News has intercepted a secret memorandum from the Ministries of Finance and Education presented to Parliament to consider and approve the loan.
The National Democratic Congress (NDC), during the campaign for the 2012 elections, promised to construct 200 community day secondary schools while the main opposition, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), promised free SHS education.
However President John Mahama, during his 2014 State of the Nation address in Parliament, revealed government’s plans of implementing a progressively free SHS policy in 2015.
The announcement was met with mixed reactions and harsh criticisms from the social and political commentators as well as some members of the NPP who were convinced the policy belonged to the main opposition.
President Mahama later indicated the policy will cost Ghana approximately GHC 71 million.
Sections of the general public and economic analysts, however, were of the opinion government cannot support the free SHS and 200 new SHS because of the prevailing economic conditions in the country.
The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) also urged government to reconsider its decision because making senior education free will adversely affect the quality of education.
The President has already cut the sod at Nyanoa, near Adeiso in the Upper West Akyem District of the Eastern Region, for the construction of the first of 50 new community day SHS.
On June 4, the Ministry of Education announced that a roadmap has been prepared for the introduction of free SHS education in Ghana.
The secret memorandum has been forwarded to Parliament for consideration and subsequent approval.
The intercepted document stated that government made a request to the World Bank to provide financial support for the implementation of the free SHS project.
The World Bank has since agreed to support the project $156 million for the construction of 23 news SHS, 50 new rehabilitation works, support 75 low performing SHS and provide scholarships for 10, 000 students from low income families with emphasis on girls.
According to the document, the secondary education project will be implemented over a five-year period.
It is expected to take effect from October 1, 2014 to November 30, 2019.
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana