General News of Thu, 14 Sep 20179
Free SHS must end teenage pregnancy, child marriage - Gender Minister
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisah Djaba has said that the free Senior High School (SHS) policy presents a golden opportunity for more young Ghanaian girls to educate themselves.
The Minister, who encouraged the first-year female students who had gained admission into the various Senior High Schools to maximize the benefit of the policy, said that there was no excuse for any young girl to be out of school.
Otiko Djaba cautioned the female students who are first beneficiaries of the free SHS not to get pregnant or rush into adulthood which comes with a lot of responsibilities but rather aim high to achieve their dreams and aspirations in life.
Addressing over 600 first year students at the Accra Girls Senior High School on Thursday, September 14, 2017, the Gender Minister said it would be a great disadvantage to womanhood and the development of the nation if the girls become pregnant, drop out of school and become mothers along the way.
“Please don’t joke with this golden opportunity. Making education free means that somebody is paying for it besides your parents. And this means that the responsibility is on you to learn to become tomorrow’s leader and the star of your family, community and Ghana.
Making it free does not mean that you should go and sleep or get pregnant”. She emphasized that “there is no room for teenage pregnancy, there is no room for dropping out of school and there is no room for child marriage”. The Gender Minister’s visit was to welcome the young female students to school on behalf of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and on behalf of her Ministry and to encourage them to remain in school till they complete.
It was also to interact with the female students and to get firsthand information on some of the possible challenges they might encounter in their new school environment.
However, there were no complaints from the students as they cheerfully applauded the government for giving them the free and equal opportunity to study with other colleagues from different backgrounds.
A check by the Minister revealed that most of the students were admitted from almost all the 10 regions of Ghana even though Greater Accra Region had the highest number.
Otiko Afisah Djaba said that the President, Nana Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) believed that, for Ghana to succeed, then the key was education for all Ghanaian children.
She said that the vision of the President was to create a new and a prosperous Ghana, where emphasis is placed on the social, economic and educational empowerment of the people and that vision she noted starts with the young people who hold the key to the future of Ghana.
She, therefore, appealed to the students to realize that they had the power to turn their destiny around and to become great persons to manage the affairs of this country.
“You can be anything you want to be if only you come to school, stay in school and finish school. So try and translate this opportunity into your destiny. Destiny is what you make it. Some people are born great, others have greatness bestowed on them and others have to achieve it. So, if you are born great or not, you are here in school to achieve it,” the Minister advised.
On the other hand, the Headmistress of the Accra Girls Senior High School, Joyce Acolatse disclosed that there was high demand for admission from students this year than ever before.
But the school could only admit a little above 600 students’ due to inadequate classrooms and dormitory facilities. She, therefore, appealed to the Gender Minister to personally intervene for the completion of a two-story dormitory block by the GETFund which was abandoned by the previous administration.
The Headmistress also appealed to the government to provide the Accra Girls Senior High School with a new school bus to meet the transportation needs of the about 2,000 students in the school.