President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says government would fund the cost of public senior high schools (SHS) for all those who qualify for entry from the 2017/2018 academic year onwards.
He explained that by free SHS there will be no admission fees, no library fees, no science centre fees, no computer lab fees, no examination fees and no utility fees.
Spelling out the details of the policy “so that no one in Ghana is left in any doubts”, President Akufo-Addo added that in addition to tuition which is already free, there will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals, and day students will get a meal at school for free.”
“Free SHS will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level. I also want to state clearly again that we have a well-thought-out plan that involves the building of new public Senior High Schools and cluster public Senior High Schools,” he added.
The President disclosed this in a speech he delivered on Saturday at the 60th Anniversary celebration of Okuapeman School where he was the Special Guest of Honour.
The Free SHS policy has been was instrumental in winning the New Patriotic Party (NPP) the December 7 elections ranking highly on their change agenda.
In the 2012 election, the party was accused of campaigning on only the free SHS policy which many political analysts believe was not enough to win the NPP power then.
However, in the running to the December 2016, then candidate Akufo-Addo reiterated his plans to provide Ghanaians with a better free SHS although the former John Mahama had aspects of the policy in practice.
Speaking on the theme of the celebration, “One Vision, Many Lives”, he noted that a society that aims to transform itself into a modern, productive player in the global market needs an educated workforce; and that means it must get its educational policies right.
“We have been unable to give all our citizens the education which has enabled the countries of the West and of Asia to thrive is the missing link in our economic development,” he stated.
According to him, he is committed, “without any equivocation, without any reservation, without any doubt”, to take Ghana to the stage where public SHS education will be free for every Ghanaian child.
Motivation of teachers
President Akufo-Addo noted that a well-trained, confident and contented teacher is at the heart of his government’s delivery of quality education.
“The views of teachers will be sought on education policy, innovation and implementation. Their professional development and needs will be treated with respect and we shall ensure that teachers’ salaries and allowances are paid regularly and on time,” he assured.
He also indicated that teacher trainee allowances would be restored as it is captured in government’s maiden budget to be read on March 4.
“My administration will also focus on the provision of incentives that will motivate teachers, and reward their hard work in the classroom.
“Government will collaborate with GNAT, NAGRAT, and other teaching associations to facilitate an affordable housing scheme for teachers. Teachers will be afforded the opportunity to upgrade their qualifications and we aim to make the teaching profession, once again, a proud choice,” he added.
The President, in concluding, pledged his commitment to the renovation and the full equipping of the Science Resource Centre of Okuapeman School as a commemorative event of its 60th birthday.