General News of Mon, 4 Sep 20178
All is set for Free SHS take-off - Deputy Minister assures
All is set for the much-heralded Free Education policy which is supposed to kick-start next week, Deputy Education Minister has assured.
Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum who is in charge of Senior High School education says even though some few hitches are expected as a human institution, the ministry is generally “close to the finish line” to begin what is largely the biggest educational intervention by the government.
According to him, his boss, Mathew Opoku Prempeh may go down as the minister to have done the most comprehensive consultation with all heads of institutions as far as the implementation of a policy is concerned.
“Whatever we need to put in place has been put in place...core text books have been distributed throughout the country. It has never happened before," he bragged.
In what is a departure from the past, the deputy minister said core text books from first to the third year have been distributed.
“The good news is that we didn’t want them to wait till the second year before we bring them the second year book, the third year we bring them the third year book. So when I spoke to one headmaster he said I have my first-year mathematics books, second-year mathematics books, and third-year mathematics so I don’t have to worry about the next three years.
“We really want to prepare. As you can see from our logo, this is not just about access. It is also about quality," he stated.
Asked whether the government has paid the fees to the schools, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum said government will do all that it must do before school begins.
“…I don’t want a child to be sent back home because of a fee item and Nana Addo Dankwa doesn’t want that to happen. He in his mind is saying everything must be free and in practice he wants it to be free.
“..The idea is that we don’t want to put any impediment on any parent,” he stated.
Senior High Schools in the country will next week open its door to over 420,000 students to begin their academic pursuit.
In the era of free education, all expenses covering their two and half year stay in school will be borne by government with an estimated 3.6 million cedis expected to be spent on the policy every year.
The rationale according to the Deputy Minister is to ensure Ghanaians who qualify for SHS are not burdened with financial difficulties.
Head of CHASS, Psalm Gyebi said “generally” the schools are ready to implement the policy.
He, however, added that a meeting of all heads of schools is currently underway and a final decision as to the challenges will be communicated after the end of the meeting.
When he was asked whether the government has paid the feeding grant as promised, he retorted, saying they are yet to receive the money but hopes before the beginning of school the money would have been paid.