Free SHS policy is working well, there can no longer be controversy on its validity –  Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Nana Osei Tutu II and SHS students
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Nana Osei Tutu II and SHS students

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says, the Free Senior High School Policy is working and working well as compared to other educational systems introduced at the Sector.

The President believe that, there can no longer be controversy about the validity of the free Senior High School policy and its consequential measures since It’s working and working well.

This President Akufo-Addo justified by saying, the 2022 WASSCE results are the best of the last eight (8) years WASSCE results.

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According to president Akufo-Addo, the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy introduced by his government in September 2017, is currently guaranteeing that all Ghanaian children receive a minimum of Senior High School education.

He indicated that, six years on, following the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme, which has guaranteed a minimum of Senior High School education for 1.6 million Ghanaian children, he is very proud of the policy and of its results thus far.

Speaking at the 70th Anniversary celebration of Opoku Ware School in Kumasi, the President reiterated that “the experiences of developed nations have shown that the most efficient way to create a society of opportunities and thereby guarantee the future of a nation is by investing in education and skills training of the youth”.

President Akufo-Addo said six years on, following the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme, he is proud of what has been achieved.

Opoku Ware School was founded 70 years ago in 1952. As such, a rich programme of activities involving both present and past students, as well as the general public was put in place to celebrate the milestone.

The anniversary was launched in November 2021 and the ensuing programme officially commenced in January this year, climaxing with a grand durbar, which was graced by Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu as the Guest of Honour and President Akufo-Addo.

READ MORE: FREE SHS: Double Track Intervention in Senior High Schools 

The two key principles of the Free SHS policy are “Equity and Access”.

The objective is to ensure that the already disadvantaged students in society get equal opportunity and access to quality education no matter where they come from and their family background.

The Ministry note that, the benefits derived from the implementation of the Free SHS policy are not limited to equitable access to quality education alone. There are several Ghanaian companies that have been given lifelines through the implementation of this policy.

An example is the Akosombo Textiles Limited (ATL) which benefited immensely from the Free SHS policy through a conscious decision by the current administration to strengthen existing companies whiles building new ones. The overarching impact of the Free SHS policy cannot be overemphasized.

Government through the Ministry of Education indicated that, the Free SHS policy has not only ensured access to quality education for all but also improved supply of quality food to both day and boarding students. The quantity and quality of food served the students have also improved. Food supply has always been delivered to schools on time since the inception of the Free SHS policy.

The Ministry believe that, the future of TVET looks positive due to the investment this government is putting in the sector. Parents should therefore guide their wards in selecting Technical and Vocational institutions.

The government of Ghana through the Ministry of Education has outlined the following additional information as a contributing factor through the introduction of the Free Senior High Schools Policy.

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According to the Ministry;

1. The Free SHS policy has not only increased enrolment in schools but also ensured that schools are provided with the necessary infrastructure needed for the provision quality education.

2. The policy has as well saved students from the embarrassing situation of being chased out of school for their inability to pay fees and for heads of schools, the free mind to concentrate on managing the schools as all they need are supplied by the government.

3. But for the Free SHS policy, Bernice Morkpokpo of Adidome Senior High School on Volta Region, who lost both parents at early stage of her life would have missed the opportunity of being educated at the secondary school level and her dream of becoming a nurse.

4. Nana Brentu Senior High Technical School is a beneficiary of the School Library Transformation Programme of the Free SHS among many.

5  It was an unpleasant exercise chasing students for fees. Because of the implementation of the Free SHS policy, teachers don’t have to move around, chasing students and their parents for school fees because that burden has been removed by the Free SHS policy.

6. The policy has removed the barrier of accessing education and has also ensured equity. That is, notwithstanding your background, you have access to education which position you well to contribute to national development.

7. When the Free SHS policy started, a little over 13,800 students were enrolled in the Western Region. But in 2018, after people experienced the policy and got to know it was real, the region saw an increase in numbers. About 27,000 students, representing over 100% increase, were enrolled.

8. The one hot meal initiative for High school students introduced by the government, has been very helpful. Aside the nutritional value it gives to the students, it has been an avenue for job creation. Clearly, it is not only the students who have benefitted from the policy but caterers as well.

9. It was unfortunate but unavoidable to witness students being sacked from school on several occasions  because of their inability to pay school fees. This does not happen anymore because of the introduction of the Free SHS policy. From that angle, one can say that, the Free SHS policy is the best thing that ever happened to students of Ghana.

10. The policy offers our future generation more opportunities to achieve their goals and dreams without destructions.

11. The Free SHS policy has an objective of ensuring equity not only in our education but society at large. The policy does not discriminate and seeks to bridge the gap between the rich and poor.

12. Data from 2015 to 2016, reveals that an average of 100,000 BECE graduates each year, placed in Senior High Schools, do not take up their places. This was largely caused by financial challenges. This is why the government introduced the Free SHS policy, removing the biggest obstacle; cost, that stood in their way.

The Free SHS policy has greatly lessened the burden of parents and  students as described.

SOURCE: Coverghana.com.gh

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