FREE SHS POLICY
As stated in Article 25 1b of the 1992 Constitution, “Secondary education in its different forms including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education.”
Goal 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) states: “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.” It has therefore been a priority of the government and the Ministry of Education to ensure that education is made free from basic to secondary to afford more children in Ghana the opportunity to access quality education. In September 2017, the Ministry achieved a major milestone with the implementation of the Free Senior High School program. That year, there was an 11% increase in enrolment, breaking records from previous years. In the 2017/18 academic year, a new record was set with the highest enrolment ever seen in the country: over 470,000 students enrolled in senior high school.
Every Ghanaian child who is placed into a public Second Cycle Institution by the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) during the school placement process is eligible for a free SHS education
The Free SHS program, therefore, provides students with core textbooks, supplementary readers’ notebooks and exercise books and, where applicable, free drawing instruments at no cost to them.
In the 2016/17 academic year, the number of children who qualified and had been placed in senior high school but could not enrol stood at 11,336 out of a total of 420,135 who were placed. However, in the 2017/18 academic year, following the introduction of the Free Senior High School program, this dropped to 62,453 out of 424,224 who were placed in senior high schools. Clearly therefore, more children were accessing senior high school.
With the government’s determination that no child should be left behind, the Double Track (DT) system was introduced after consultation with stakeholders. The DT aims to tackle the issue of increased student demand with limited infrastructure in many preferred Senior High Schools across the nation. It sought to achieve four major aims with existing infrastructure:
1. Create room to accommodate the increase in enrollment.
2. Reduce class sizes
3. Increase contact hours with teachers.
4. Increase the number of holidays (especially for teachers)