A US-based Ghanaian Professor, Fiifi Sam had lauded the government's Free SHS concept saying it holds the key for Ghana's future manpower base.
Professor Sam who is President of Elgin Community College, Illinois, USA, said, the Free SHS idea must not be politicised.
Although the policy in his view, needs some tweaking, it will certainly not look the same in ten years time.
Prof Fiifi Sam said this as a Guest Speaker at the Speech And Prize Giving Day of Tema Senior High School (Temasco) at the weekend.
He was of the view that the policy is a commitment by government to providing education to the population for the creation of the requisite manpower resource for the country's development.
Prof. Sam, a former dining hall prefect of Temasco and a Lover Six Arts class Prefect in the 78 class observed that no society or country has developed without a significant percentage of an educated population.
“Therefore, we must see education as an investment and not a mere expense. Educational curriculum at all levels, therefore, must be tailored to meet the workforce needs of the nation”, he posited
He maintained that, for the government’s free senior high school policy to succeed it will require the support of communities, teachers, parents, and the students themselves.
He consequently urged the students to take advantage and learn harder.
Students , he said must not relax because the cost is borne by the nation and their parents.
“You are privileged to be students at Tema Secondary School; your parents are sacrificing to make that possible for you”, he told the students.
He conceded that, educational funding, is a challenge everywhere and will remain so in Ghana too for years to come.
Prof. Sam urged the state to continue to prioritize education and allocate the requisite budget for it.
He urged the Tema community and the Metropolitan Assembly to see schools in their vicinity as part of their responsibility to help them to succeed by giving pupils and students the right education and upbringing.
He said the community and assembly must be able to supplement what the central government provides to the schools in the area.’’
He called on parents to keep a keen interest in their children’s education by teaming up with other parents through the PTA and teachers to mold the lives of their students to fit into the contemporary world dictated by technological innovations.
“Remember, nobody will ever care more about your child’s education than you,” he noted.
The Prof. suggested to Tema Secondary School to establish an endowment fund if it does not already have one.
"The corpus or principal of the fund may not be touched for specified period, for example, 50 years or ever. If the fund is invested and managed well, the interest gained will serve as a healthy pool of money for needed development of the school. The seed money for this endowment could come from parents who can pay for their children’s education but are not doing so now because of the free senior high school policy,” he noted.
He continued, “Some are itching to make such contributions and it will be in the best interest of the school to tap into this funding source. Because these donations will be into an endowment fund, they should not be viewed as going against the government’s free senior high school program.
“As I said earlier, the program will be quite different from what it is now in another 10 years, and I predict my recommendation will be the norm by that time. So please think about it and get a jump start on it!
“I am a strong proponent of education; my passion is for community colleges.”
Source: The Punch Newspaper
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