GNAT Criticizes Government, Claims Proposed Free SHS Bill Politically Motivated

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The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has criticized the Akufo-Addo government for its proposed Free SHS Bill, alleging political interference in the education sector. GNAT President Rev Isaac Owusu argues that the new bill, aimed at legalizing free senior high school education, appears politically motivated and unnecessary given existing legislation. 

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The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has voiced strong opposition to the Akufo-Addo government's proposed Free SHS Bill, accusing it of political maneuvering in the education sector. GNAT President Rev Isaac Owusu expressed concern that the introduction of the new bill seems politically motivated, driven by fears that a future administration might overturn the current flagship Free SHS programme. 

In an interview with Evans Mensah on PM Express, Rev Owusu suggested that instead of proposing a new bill, the government should focus on clarifying the implementation of Free SHS through existing legal instruments. He questioned whether the proposed bill would replace or complement existing legislation, emphasizing the need for clarity on its relationship with ACT 1029, which addresses pre-tertiary education including secondary education. 

 The GNAT President's remarks follow Education Minister Dr Yaw Adutwum's announcement of the Free SHS Bill, 2024, scheduled for Cabinet debate. The bill aims to legally enforce free and compulsory senior high school education, introducing reforms such as restructuring junior high school and eliminating the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) as a requirement for SHS admission. Dr Adutwum clarified that under the new bill, BECE would solely serve for school selection purposes, with SHS completion certificates becoming the primary formal education qualification in Ghana. 

Rev Owusu criticized the bill as another instance of political posturing, recalling past political shifts in educational policies by different administrations. He urged politicians to prioritize expert guidance over political agendas in educational reforms, emphasizing the importance of leaving politics out of critical educational decisions. 

The proposed Free SHS Bill has sparked debate regarding its necessity and potential impact on Ghana's education system, highlighting ongoing tensions between political interests and educational policy objectives. (via citifmonline)