President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reiterated that the Free Senior High School Policy will be sustained and is here to stay.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “I know, and I am sure I am not the only one who has heard, the people who are mounting political platforms, speaking on television and radio, and putting up posts on social media, hoping and praying for this policy to collapse.”
He continued, “We know those who have a record for scrapping pro-poor policies – nursing and teacher trainees will bear testimony. I wish to assure them that Free SHS will be sustained, that Free SHS is here to stay. The overwhelming majority of Ghanaians support the choice that I have made in implementing Free SHS”.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, 2nd December, 2017, when he delivered a speech at the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of the Kumasi Academy, in Kumasi.
The President stressed that there is no part of Ghana that does not recognise the importance of education, adding that “we have all accepted that education is the best route to moving out of poverty.”
It is for this reason that, on 12th September, 2017, he launched the Free Senior High School policy, to ensure that one of the biggest obstacles that stood in the way of access to secondary education, and that is cost, is removed.
“This has already led to an increase of over 90,000 children, who have entered secondary school this academic year, who would otherwise have dropped out at this stage. Free SHS has lifted the financial burden off parents, and the heart-rending anxiety that accompanies the beginning of every school term,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo was, thus, surprised that, because of political expediency, some would wish and pray for this policy to fail.
Nonetheless, the President reiterated that “my government believes that we have a sacred duty to our children, and the generations beyond in ensuring that, irrespective of their circumstances, whether of birth, status, class, ethnic or religious affiliations, their right to an education is preserved.”
On the teething challenges confronting the Free SHS policy, the President acknowledged that “there would be with any new, bold initiative”.
He told the gathering that he was inspired by the famous Chinese adage which says “a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”, explaining that “we have taken that first step in Ghana, and we shall deal with the challenges.”
In dealing with the teething challenges, President Akufo-Addo stated that “Government has ordered thousands of mono-desks and bunk beds, as well as furniture for dining halls, staff rooms, computer labs and markers for classroom.”
In commemoration of Kumasi Academy’s 60th Anniversary, the President announced that, through the Ministry of Education, the construction of a vocational centre, and the completion of the Library and ICT Centre, will be done.