Progressive Free SHS: Classy Mahama got it right

Feature Article Progressive Free SHS: Classy Mahama got it right
JUL 26, 2022 LISTEN

The visionary leader sees things early and is able to connect the dots to inspire others toward a more meaningful outcome.

This is the kind of thinking that went into Mahama's Progressive Free Senior High School Education Policy. On Thursday, September 17, 2015, President John Mahama launched the programme at a colourful ceremony at Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region where he also commissioned the John Atta Mills Community Day Senior High School. In fact, I was there and took notes.

Certain categories of fees that were absorbed included examination fees, library fees, entertainment fees, SRC dues, science development fees, science and maths quiz fees, sports fees, culture and ICT fees as well as Curriculum fees. Tuition fees were already free. GH¢ 12.2 million was released to enable the Education Ministry pay for first term of the 2015/2016 academic year.

It was expected that the construction of the 200 new Community Day Senior High Schools will increase enrollment to over 240,000 across the country.

The E-shaped Community School block is a four-level structure housing 24 classrooms, four laboratories, two libraries, eight offices for departmental heads, ICT laboratory and internet-working area; and offices for the headmaster and staff.

His government had further released funding for the Ministry of Education to recruit additional 9,300 new teachers to staff the new schools that were being commissioned.

In his address, President Mahama said, “We will eventually get to the stage where every senior high school student would get the opportunity to go to school free.

“But the programme begins this academic year with day students. . .it would be progressively expanded to absorb the cost that is currently undertaken by boarding students."

Some schools that were supposed to benefit from the Policy include:

  • Central Region – 27,795 students in 54 schools.
  • Western Region – 38,751 in 56 schools.
  • Ashanti Region – 64,430 from 102 schools.
  • Northern – 17,648 students out of 45 schools.
  • Brong Ahafo – 38,751 from 56 schools.
  • Upper East – 1,395 students out of 28 schools.
  • Upper West – 877 students from 23 schools.
  • Eastern – 34,157 students out of 82 schools.
  • Greater Accra – 52,664 consisting of 46 schools.
  • Volta – 36,859 out of 88 schools.

In an article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the authors, Arthur J. Rolnick and Rob Grunewald write, “Investment in human capital breeds economic success not only for those being educated, but also for the overall economy.” This was the vision of H.E. John Dramani Mahama for the education sector of Ghana.

President Mahama must be a prophet. He made a profound statement when he lost the 2016 that prosperity will judge him. In addition to his prophetic gift, he must also be a "Pharisee" because he can see far beyond what his contemporaries can envisage.

And the issue of his Progressive Free SHS is a clear justification of these points. Judging from the current state of Nana Akufo-Addo's Free SHS, and the contemplation of a review, Classy Mahama got it right. Posterity is judging him.

Anthony Obeng Afrane

ModernGhana Links