The government of Ghana, under the Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP) has negotiated an additional $40m from the World Bank to support the Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy, the Minister of Education has said.
Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh said this in a speech read on his behalf at the 68th Speech and Prize Giving Day of St. Mary's Senior High School in Accra.
He said the amount received from the World Bank will be used to upgrade facilities in 75 SHS's in the country, adding that, the government is 'continuing with physical works on the existing Community Day Schools in the country.'
Dr Opoku said the Free SHS had increased enrollment at the Secondary level hence the need for government to invest in infrastructure.
'Inevitably, the Free SHS policy means an increase in the number of children accessing high school education, for the simple reason that children, who would otherwise have stayed home because of the financial barriers to SHS education now have no reason to do so.
'This means that as a matter of priority, government has to focus on expanding the physical infrastructure in our SHS's to accommodate the anticipated rise of student numbers in the coming years,' he said.
He said government was working hard to fix all issues surrounding the Free SHS policy so that the quality of education is not affected.
'Government is determined to ensure that the Free SHS policy will not compromise quality in any way and was working hard to ensure that any challenges that we face are resolved as soon as possible.'
The Minister added that, government is working to improve girl child education in the country.
'Government is working closely with NGOs such as the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) to improve access to quality education for young girls in this country.'
The Headmistress of the school, Mrs Grace Mansa Eshun, said 'the school was in dire need of staff accommodation', and that, in spite of the many challenges, the school had gone a long way in achieving a lot in her 68 year history.
She congratulated the teachers of the school for their sacrifices, saying, 'To teachers, who go the extra mile with passion for their students, may you be blessed by the Most Ancient of Days.'
St. Mary's Senior High School was founded on February 6, 1950 by the Catholic Missionary Sisters-Servants of the Holy Spirit. The vision of the Catholic Missionary Sisters-Servants for establishing the school was to create educational opportunities for young girls to receive secondary education with Catholic underpinnings to better their lives and improve upon their prospects for their future.
The theme for the 68th anniversary celebrations was 'Empowering Girls to Make Responsible Life Decisions for a Responsible Future'.