NDC Kicks Against Free SHS Bill

NDC Kicks Against Free SHS Bill


The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has kicked against the Akufo-Addo-led government’s intention to introduce a bill in Parliament to back the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.

Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, stated the government’s plan on Tuesday, citing concerns by some Ghanaians that the programme may be cancelled by future governments.

The bill intends to make it mandatory for all future governments to continue implementing Free SHS in order to realise the aspirations set out in Chapter five of the 1992 Constitution.

But the NDC MP for Akatsi North, Peter Kwasi Nortsu-Kotoe, who is the Ranking Member for Parliament’s Education Committee, has criticised the move by the government.

Mr. Nortsu-Kotoe, whose party sponsored 50 advertisements against the introduction of Free SHS policy, described the government’s intentions as needless.

Speaking on Accra-based Citi FM, the NDC MP said there was no need for any legislation to regulate or entrench the Free SHS programme, and emphasised the absence of an official policy document on Free SHS despite requests made to previous and current Education Ministers over the last seven years.

“As a committee on education, we have asked the previous minister and the current one that we want to see a Free Senior High School policy or document, and for seven to eight years now, they have not been able to provide the committee with the policy document.

“If you don’t even have a policy, on what basis are you going to pass the law? In any case, the Constitution has a provision, Article 25(1b) says that secondary education in all forms, including technical and vocational (education) should be progressively made free and that is what we started in 2015,” he argued.

“So, for this government to have come to office and implemented it as they wanted, I don’t think any Ghanaian has a problem with that. For me, enacting a law as to protect it or whatever is neither here nor there,” he slammed.

Mr. Nortsu-Kotoe noted that because the Free SHS policy is being implemented in accordance with public expectations, providing it with further legal protection would be superfluous.

However, his stance on the bill has been contradicted by his leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, who said NDC MPs are not against the proposed Free SHS Bill.

“There is currently no such bill before Parliament. We cannot oppose a bill that we have not seen,” he posted on social media platform, X (formally known as Twitter), after public criticism of the NDC stance.

“For the records, it was the NDC that birthed the 1992 Constitution which provided the legal framework for the introduction of Free Secondary Education in Ghana,” he added.

The Minority Leader claimed that the NDC started the Free SHS scheme in 2015 for all day students in public SHSs, totaling over 320,000, with a clear intention to increase coverage to include 120,000 boarding students by 2017.

“The position of the NDC on the Free SHS programme, as publicly communicated by our flagbearer and leader, is to improve the implementation of the programme and address the challenges bedeviling it through a consultative approach.

“Thus, the NDC will support any legislation or effort aimed at making the Free SHS programme better and sustainable,” he intimated.


BY Daniel Bampoe