The government has received praises both locally and internally for implementing a Free Senior High School (SHS) policy in Ghana.

The implementation of the policy, although a political campaign promise to the people of Ghana by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) then in opposition, the policy has gained universal support from all Ghanaians.

The euphoria and enthusiasm with which the policy has been embraced and the smooth commencement of the programme is simply commendable.

However, the implementation of the programme, has not been without hitches.  It has faced few challenges, which the Free SHS Secretariat of the Ministry of Education is said to be resolving.

But one important issue that has been raised by the private second cycle schools, which needs immediate attention, is their non-inclusion in the implementation of the Free SHS programme.

According to the Conference of Heads of Private Second Cycle Schools (CHOPSS), contrary to a promise by the government that private schools would be involved in the programme, no student was posted to their schools.

Furthermore, it said, the Ghana Education Service (GES) did not add private schools to the list of schools to offer parents the option to choose between private and public SHSs, for their children.

Expressing disappointment  at what it described as government neglect, CHOPSS said  it was of the firm believe that the Ghana Education Service was going to involve the private schools in the enrolment process as was done previously.

The Ghanaian Times supports the position of the private schools, and would like to think that it was an oversight on the part of the GES.

We hold that position because the private schools system has been part of the SHS process and students have been placed in those schools under the computerised placement system.

Unless, we are proven otherwise, it would be difficult to hazard a guess as to the real reason why the private schools were left out without a single student being posted to those educational institutions.

Besides, students who may find themselves in private schools for one reason or the other are also Ghanaians and ought to have a share in the distribution of the country’s wealth.

We think that it is not too late to consider roping in the private schools to absorb the large excess students being posted to public schools by the placement system.

Let us give the private schools a hearing and involve them in the free SHS programme.

After all we proudly tout our preference for the private sector as the engine of growth, so why can’t we involve the private sector in education, especially in this laudable venture, which is the first of its kind in Ghana.

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