General News of Sun, 29 Jul 201823

Free SHS will break 'poverty trap' - Akufo-Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo has resolved to use education as a springboard to get Ghanaians out of the “trap of poverty”.

He said though a government might not be able to make every citizen rich, with the right political will and responsible leadership, a government could help create a society of opportunities and empowerment.

Speaking at the 70th Speech and Prize-Giving Day celebration of the Ghana National College in Cape Coast at the weekend, President Akufo-Addo said advanced countries in the 21st century became what they are today because they paid significant attention to education.

The celebration, which was held under the theme: “Rekindling patriotism in the youth”, brought together high-profile government officials, parliamentarians, old students, parents and students.

“Countries like the United States of America (USA), Japan, South Korea, India Canada and China others were once like Ghana, they, however, got out of the trap of poverty because of education. They paid attention to education and invested for the development of their human capital. Today the results are obvious”, the president said.

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This, according to the president, was the motivation for the introduction of the Free Senior High School (SHS) education policy in 2017 to develop the human capital of the country to propel socio-economic development.

More than 90,000 students were admitted last year onto the programme. Twice that number is expected to enter school this year, according to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, raising concerns about infrastructural challenges in the various Senior High Schools.

President Akufo-Addo said the introduction of the free SHS meant that there would be challenges of infrastructure, which the Government, through the Ghana Education Service (GES), has substantially addressed.

However, he said, the policy could not be halted until all the issues of infrastructure were adequately addressed, hence the introduction of the “double-intake system” as a temporary measure to absorb the huge intake of students.

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President Akufo-Addo said government is determined to employ more teachers to fill in the teaching gap in the country’s education sector, particularly at the SHS level.

He said the free SHS has come to stay and it would be a permanent feature of the country that would become a significant tool for its socio-economic development.

President Akufo-Addo called on all Ghanaians to embrace the double-intake system and work to ensure its success because the younger generation and the future of the country would be the ultimate beneficiaries, adding that: “We all owe it a duty to create conditions of progress for ourselves in our country.”

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