General News of Sun, 10 Dec 20177

Free SHS is cardinal human resource opportunity for development - Former MP

Former Member of Parliament for the Nabdam Constituency in the Upper East Region, Boniface Gambila, has said the implementation of the free Senior High School programme is a cardinal human resource opportunity for the country’s development.

He said it was not just a political pledge, because the development of any country depended on its quality human resource, and the ongoing policy had vindicated the New Patriotic Party (NPP), in their campaign promises.

Mr Gambila, who is also a former Upper East Regional Minister, said this in an interview with the media after launching the free SHS policy at the Kongo SHS in the Nabdam District.

According to him, the package logically covered the second and third-year students because the progressive free secondary education which government was paying for covered the continuing students too.

He said northern students were already enjoying a scholarship, and so the continuing students could not have been added to the free SHS policy, “all we did was to start with those who did not have,” he emphasized.

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Asked if there was adequate infrastructure to accommodate the students, Mr Gambila said infrastructural challenges existed since Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s regime, and recalled that “last year, for instance, we did not have free SHS, but there was accommodation problem, there were furniture and books problems.”

He said “you cannot build all the structures before people go to school, people must go to schools under trees like we did under Nkrumah before he built the Trust Schools. We were under trees and enjoying free education,” he stressed and insisted that all classrooms could not be built before people went to school.

Mr Ambrose Kwaku Johnson, the Headmaster of the school, said the school had a total population of 2,069 students and a staff strength of 89 teaching staff and 47 non-teaching staff.

He said by dint of hard work, the school had chalked lots of successes in academic, sports, and Arts and culture among others.

This, he said did not “occur by accident, but by the commitment of the teaching and non-teaching staff, who worked assiduously to ensure that students received the best tuition to prepare them adequately for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).”

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Mr Johnson said 663 free SHS students comprising 365 girls and 298 boys enrolled in the school for the 2017/2018 academic years.

He said the school was saddled with some challenges before the implementation of the free SHS programme and appealed to government to assist the school with a Science laboratory, library, Assembly hall, Administration block, staff accommodation and a Home Science Block to enhance teaching and learning.

The Headmaster further appealed to the Paramount and Divisional Chiefs of the area to assist the school to construct a fence wall to instill discipline and ward off intruders from the school.

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