The government has absorbed the school fees of all final year day students in senior high schools across the country as part of the Free SHS policy.
The policy initially only covered students who entered secondary school in 2017 and 2018.
A circular by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to all Regional Directors of Education urged the Regional Directors to treat the directive with urgency. The circular was signed by the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, Professor Kwesi Opoku Amankwa
“As part of the Free SHS package, the fees for form one and form two students, both day and boarding, as well as day students in form three have been absorbed by the government,” it said.
The circular stressed that “only boarding students in form three are supposed to pay the approved fees unless the fee item is subsidised by the government.”
“Any fees already paid by students in excess of the approved fees for the first semester of the 2018/2019 academic year should be credited to the students for the second semester,” the circular added.
About Free SHS
The Free SHS policy was introduced by the Akufo-Addo administration in September 2017.
The policy had been a major campaign policy of the New Patriotic Party prior to the election of President Akufo-Addo in 2016.
The policy is envisioned to make secondary education in Ghana absolutely free thus greatly increasing enrollment.
In 2018, owing to the infrastructure constraints brought on by the policy, the government introduced Double Track System as part of the Free SHS Education Policy.
This new system will run in all the categories A and B senior high schools in the country.
The new programme creates a calendar of two semesters in a year for the SHS 1 class, containing 81 days per each semester and 41 days of vacation for a sandwich class.
The implementation of the policy has faced criticism from observers and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The NDC and its presidential aspirant, John Mahama, suggested it would review of the Free SHS policy if came back to power.
But President Akufo-Addo has said the determination by some elements within the NDC to “review the Free Senior High School policy if voted into office” only means the eventual collapse of the policy.