NAGRAT request Government to suspend the proposed Free SHS Bill

The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has expressed grave concern over the lack of consultation regarding the proposed Free Senior High School Bill which is being discussed among Members of Parliament.

According to the association, they and other teacher unions have not been engaged in the proposal.

They describe as unfortunate, the indication from the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei-Adutwum to decouple Junior High School (JHS) from Primary School, and also cancel the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) as a precondition for gaining admission to the Senior High School.

In a statement issued on July 3, 2024, the Association said; “We hereby express our disappointment over the lack of any extensive stakeholder consultations and inputs on the impending supposed Free Senior High School (SHS) Bill, especially from the Teacher Unions whose Members are key in the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme.”

The Association is therefore demanding that the government suspend the presentation of the Free SHS Bill to Parliament to allow for broad consultation.

They also urged the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education to reject the bill as the bill is without education stakeholders’ input.

“We hereby demand that the government, in the interest of mutual respect and acceptance of any law that will affect education, should suspend the presentation of the said bill to Parliament to allow for broad consultation.

“We call on Parliament, especially the Select Committee on Education, that the so-called Bill is without Education Stakeholders’ inputs, particularly the teacher unions, and therefore, should respectively, be rejected,” parts of the statement read.

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The Majority in Parliament has announced that it is ready to introduce a Free Senior High School bill. The legislation will implement the free SHS policy binding on successive governments.

The Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, announced this at a press briefing ahead of Parliament’s resumption from break on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

He indicated that a finalised bill is ready for presentation by the Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum.

According to him, the move is to prevent any government from attempting to abort the policy. The Majority Leader insisted that “If we consider it [Free SHS bill] as a House, what that means is that it becomes mandatory for governments to implement this.”

“Unless it is repealed, no government would have the right to say, I am not going to enforce Free SHS because now it is law, so if you fail, a citizen can apply to the court as his bona fide and the court can exact justice in that citizen’s favour,” he said.

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