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05.11.2018 Education

NAPO Is Face Of Ghana’s Flagship FREE SHS Policy

By Nana Ampong
NAPO Is Face Of Ghana’s Flagship FREE SHS Policy
LISTEN NOV 5, 2018

The Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has been commended for his contribution to the educational agenda of the Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo led New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.

The Minister has been described as the face of NPP government's flagship Free Senior High School Policy which has successfully been rolled on into its second year.

The publisher of the Academic Dairy Newspaper, Michael Nana Ampong describing the minister said the Ministry of Education headed by Dr. Opoku Prempeh and ably assisted by his deputy, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, is arguably the most effective minister whose policies evolved out of the ministry have made a significant impact on the lives of many a Ghanaian.

The 50-year-old Manhyia South lawmaker has been able to achieve this feat after taking up a difficult challenge by the President Akufo-Addo to implement the controversial Free SHS policy.

Assessing his performance since his appointment to the ministry under the current regime, Nana Ampong said the Ministry of Education has played a major contribution to the success of the government's educational policy.

He added, Nana Akufo Addo's Free SHS Policy is Ghana's finest and most strategic and sustainable policy in recent times.

About 424,092 students qualified for placement into the various senior high schools (SHS) in September 2017, when the government rolled out the much touted flagship free SHS policy of the Akufo-Addo led regime.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools under the Ghana Education Service (GES) are also to enjoy the Free SHS policy and will not be charged admission, library, science centre, computer laboratory, examination, and utility fees among others.

Teachers are also said to have a major stake in the Free Senior High School Policy for which the Ministry of Education, as part of the Policy, will pay motivation fees to teachers of the various senior high schools in the country.

Government through the Ministry of Education is to recruit about 8,000 teachers for the implementation of the double track policy that was evolved out of the Free SHS Policy in its second year.

The Minister of Education, Dr. Mathew OpokuPrempeh, has said motivation fee will form part of the package of the policy to help teachers give off their best in educating the future generation.

The Minister has also instituted a National Inspectorate Board to monitor absenteeism among teachers in the schools as part of measures to sustain the policy that had been a major campaign promise of the NPP during he 2016 general elections.

The National Inspectorate Board, according to the Minister, will periodically monitor teachers to ensure they are available in class to teach students.

Last year, $400 million was earmarked in the budget to support the project from which 42 model schools would be built and textbooks and other learning materials provided to aid quality education.

Since September 12, 2017, teacher trainee allowances have been restored. Again, the free senior high school (SHS) programme which would take a whooping GH¢144 million of the taxpayer's money every academic year has dully been launched and effectively being operational.

The government also set aside GH¢ 480 million in the 2018 Budget for the payment of allowances to teacher and nursing trainees after restoration of the allowances.

Making reference to awards received by Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh to buttress his endearment for him, Nana Ampong alluded to the 2018 Change-Maker Award (Quality Education Category) at the 62nd International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET) World Assembly, which took place at Texas A&M International University's College of Education (TAMIU), in Laredo, Texas, USA.

The award was in recognition of the minister's leadership in driving a new teacher training model for Ghana, under government's current policy reform on teacher education, to improve the quality of pre-service teacher training.

Change-Makers' Awards celebrates individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions that improve the quality of lives through education.

Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh was also among 12 eminent personalities and two institutions that received this year's African Quality Awards organized by Micjoy Advertising Company in Kumasi in April, 2018 for excellence in his contribution as a minister of state.

The Minister of Education attracted the award due to the ministry's remarkable role in the effective implementation of the flagship policy, free Senior High School of the government.

The organisers also mentioned the Minister's posture, competence and also hard work as attributes which acted as a bait to win him the award.

Also, at the 8th Ghana Entrepreneur and Corporate Executive Awards 2018 held at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra, on Saturday April 28, 2018, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh was awarded the Overall Best Minister of the Year 2017 by the Ghana Entrepreneurs Foundation of Ghana (EFG).

It is said that his ministry's outstanding role and fight for the effective implementation of the flagship policy, Free Senior High School of the government earned him the award.

It is in view of the aforementioned efforts by the Minister Opoku Prempeh and his team that Nana Ampong has specially and unreservedly mentioned the Education Minister for commendation.

Dr. Opoku Prempeh is a Medical Doctor/Health Worker who studied Human Biology and Medicine at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and later continued his post-graduate studies at the Netherlands Institute of Health Sciences and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He holds MB CHB (KNUST), MSc (Chemical Epidemiology) Netherlands Institute for Health Science, MRCS which he obtained in 1994; 1998 and 2002 respectively.

Dr. Prempeh worked as a Medical Doctor in Ghana and United Kingdom. He is a Surgeon and a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of the United Kingdom.

Also known as Napo (Nana Poku), Dr Prempeh is a member of the Parliament of Ghana representing constituents of Manhyia South in Kumasi.

He was first elected to Parliament in 2008. As a Member of Parliament, he has served on committees such as Health, Appointments, Special Budget and Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.

Born on May 23, 1968 the MP, who is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2003, served as CEO of Keyedmap Security Services Limited from 2004 to 2009.

He is a Christian (Anglican) and the nephew of former president John Agyekum Kufuor.

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