FREE SHS Consuming 2 Billion Cedis Every Year Is Worth It--Bawumia
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has described as worth it the two billion Ghana cedis the government spends annually on Free Senior High School.
The Vice President was speaking in Accra on Monday at the President’s Independence Awards under the theme: “ Consolidating Our Gains”
“The countries that have made progress have done so because of the investment in their human capital. It is our unwavering belief that education is key to development hence the free SHS” the Vice President said.
According to him, the free SHS is grounded in the belief of President Akufo Addo that Some parents can not afford senior high school adding that there was, therefore, the need for every child to have access to education.
Dr. Bawumiah further revealed that about 100,000 students who passed the BECE between 2013 and 2016 and were provided placement in various SHS did not take up their placement.
He said this was due to the financial barriers that existed then adding that the government is committed to removing those financial barriers to enable pupils to benefit from quality education.
The Vice President who however acknowledged challenges with the rising numbers in the Free SHS was quick to add that the government’s position is that every child who qualifies must be given the opportunity.
“This culminated in the Double-track system. Schools that operate the double-track system have increased the form 1 intake up to 50%.We will let all the children go to school and we expect the double track to end very soon so we can have a single track” Dr. Bawumiah emphasized.
He also disclosed that the free SHS is in its third year of implementation adding that about 1,200 students are projected to be enrolled in the 2019-2020 academic year after 800,000 students, he added were enrolled in the first implementation stage.
According to him, free SHS is not all about access maintaining that it goes beyond access so the government intends to make the education quality to enable students compete anywhere in the world.
He mentioned the teachers’ Licensure Exams and the spending of gh56million on teachers to spend time with students on specific difficult subjects as some of the measures by government to ensure quality education in the country.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we must consolidate our gains and we need to do much better going forward. We must bring out the best in our young ones by providing them what they need for their success” he said.
The Vice President later admonished the awardee students to continue striving for excellence since achievement in the Basic Education Certificate Examination(BECE) is not a guarantee for excellence at the SHS level.
He added that “your awards today means that you have something in you, nurture it, water it and let it grow so you can become successful in future.
Present at the function were the MD of Nestle Ghana, Madam Philomena Tan who are sponsors of the Awards, the Minister of State in charge of tertiary education, Prof Kwesi Yankah, the deputy Minister of Education. Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum and the Ashanti regional Minister Mr. Simon Osei Mensah.
The President’s Independence Day Awards since its inception in 1993, continues to provide scholarships each year to young brilliant students between the ages of 14 and 19 from all the regions of the country.
The awardees are selected based on their exceptional academic performances in the Basic Education Certificate Examination(BECE)