Revamping Free SHS: EduWatch Calls for Parental Contribution to Boarding Costs

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Education think tank, Africa Education Watch, has called for a reassessment of the government’s Free SHS policy, suggesting that parents choosing boarding status for their children should bear the associated costs.

In a report titled Financial Burden Analysis of the Free SHS Policy and Implications on Equitable Access, EduWatch proposed that free boarding secondary education should be reserved for students in underserved communities. The study, commissioned by Africa Education Watch with support from Oxfam as part of the DANIDA Strategic Partnership II Project, argues that this approach would enable the government to generate additional revenue to support the Free SHS initiative.

The report emphasized the need for a gradual transition from the current boarding-centric model to one where day schooling becomes the norm, reserving free boarding options for students lacking reasonable access to secondary education.

“However parents, who in spite of an opportunity for their wards to be day students for free, still decide to opt for boarding status must pay for its full cost.”

The study also recommended that the government improve the disbursement of funds under the Free SHS to improve teaching and learning.

“The MoF must improve the disbursement of funds under the free SHS policy. The timely availability of funds (especially at the school level) to procure. items that were previously ‘smuggled’ into prospectus, is critical to sustain compliance with the current moderate, harmonised prospectus. This will also improve the availability of adequate foodstuffs and other Teaching and Learning Resources in schools to reduce the financial burden on some parents to supply provisions to their wards in school.”



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