The Trades Union Congress (TUC) of Ghana has commended the government for the introduction of the free Senior High School programme but cautions that it should not worsen the graduate unemployment menace.
“The challenges with job creation need to be addressed to ensure that free SHS does not produce a pool of educated but frustrated young people.
“That will be costly for the country. The only way the cost of free SHS will pay for itself will be to put beneficiary Ghanaians to productive work,” the TUC said in a statement.
The statement signed by its Secretary-General, Dr Yaw Baah, urged the government to “begin to think of expanding infrastructure at the country’s universities to ensure that they can absorb a large number of SHS graduates in the next few years.”
The TUC commended the government for keeping its campaign promise in implementing the free SHS education policy saying that the Union was particularly impressed with the careful planning and rigour with which the various government ministries and agencies have gone about the implementation of the programme.
“We would like to assure the government of our support for the Free SHS programme. This is the most significant social intervention programme that has been implemented in our country since independence. We believe it is the most equitable way to distribute the country’s resources to all Ghanaians regardless of their socio-economic background.
“Data from Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) show that only 15 percent of all Ghanaians who are 15 years or older had attained secondary education or higher. The statistics further indicate that 19.5 percent of Ghanaians have never attended school. 44.6 percent did not complete MSLC/BECE, while only 20.9 percent completed MSLC/BECE. After 60 years of independence, these statistics are not only shameful, but they are also a barrier to sustainable and inclusive development.
“We expect the free SHS programme to dramatically improve access to education in all parts of the country. But we should not end there. The government should address all other related issues to ensure that the quality of education in our country improves.
The free SHS programme provides immense opportunities for young people. The programme will increase the pool of educated young Ghanaians in the labour market. It will also increase the number of students seeking university education. Harnessing these opportunities will depend on the preparations we make today.
By: ADR Daily Newsdesk