Although the government’s policy on education, the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme, has gained popularity, in terms of its reach out to the poor, there is scepticism about the fairness of the intervention.
At a Democratic Governance in West Africa (DEGOWA) Forum on Inequality,held on Tuesday, April 17, the Acting Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Poverty Reduction, Dr. S.K Nuamah opined that, with the current case of the free SHS programme, the gap of equity is not addressed, as both rich or poor don’t pay school fees.
Nuamah said “nothing has been done in terms of inequity; but in terms of inequality, it’s being addressed.”
This is because everyone has been given equal chance, he added.
This has still kept the poverty gap wide.
“The critical issue here is to look at inequity than the inequality,” Nuamah emphasized.
In the past two decades, sustained and inclusive economic growth has enabled the country to reduce the number of its citizens living in poverty by half, from 52.6 percent to 21.4 percent, and this number is continuing to drop.
Although there is much to celebrate about the recent reduction of those living in poverty, there are still a number of people, primarily in rural areas, that are living in poverty.
Currently rural poverty is about four times, as much as urban poverty, as compared to 1992 when it was about twice.
This has been due to the significant reduction in urban poverty without the same in rural poverty.
In a relation to this has been the call, in recent times, on government to come clear on the funding for the Free SHS.
This, when clarified will ensure a strong financial sustainability plan that would enable the government to progress with the implementation of the initiative and the other social intervention programmes.
By Joshua W. Amlanu