President Akufo-Addo has officially launched the Free Senior High School policy at the West Africa Senior High School (WASS) at Adenta in Accra on Tuesday, and described the programme as the means to creating a society of opportunities and empowerment for every citizen.
This historic event, according to the President, will ensure that students from basic schools have equal opportunity to enroll in any of the top senior high schools in the country.
In his address at the launch of the Free SHS policy, president Akufo-Addo said, “We have a sacred duty to our children and the generations beyond in ensuring that, irrespective of their circumstances, their right to an education is preserved.”
The president said every Ghanaian child should be comfortable in the knowledge that, when they work hard, they will be as capable as anyone else in the world.
Bemoaning the numbers of children falling out of the educational system, President Akufo-Addo noted that over the last four years, an average of 100,000 BECE graduates, who are placed in public senior high schools each year, do not take up their place.
This, he added, means that, in the next decade, about one million young men and women would have had their education terminated at junior high school.
“Such a situation is totally unacceptable, and I am determined to end it. This is why my government is, today, beginning the implementation of the Free Senior High School Policy,” he added.
According to the President, “By implementation of the Free SHS policy, we would be on the way to achieving US Sustainable Development Goal no. 4, which calls for inclusive and equitable education, and the promotion of lifelong opportunities for all.”
From this day on, President Akufo-Addo added “we lift the financial burden off our parents, and the heart-rending anxiety that accompanies the beginning of every school term. We have a sacred duty to our children and the generations beyond in ensuring that, irrespective of their circumstances, their right to an education is preserved. That is why government has decided to absorb all senior high school fees that have been agreed between the Ghana Education Service Council and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS).”
About 400,000 students are expected to benefit from the education policy that will exempt them from paying for tuition and other fees.
Meanwhile, authorities in the Ashanti region are reeling under severe pressure to enroll prospective first year students placed in their schools ahead of the official opening of the first term of the 2017/2018 academic year.
A visit to some of the schools by GBC’s Correspondents, Nicholas Osei-Wusu and Akosua Frema Frimpong showed that a large crowd of ecstatic parents accompanied by their wards had defied an early down pour to throng the premises of the schools to complete the admission processes.
Registration of first year students for the Free Senior High School kicked off Monday recording challenges in some schools.
Some parents and their wards were disappointed for not getting the option for boarding, while the authorities of some schools said they received more students than they requested.