The Vice President, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has downplayed law lecturer Dr. Raymond Atuguba’s proposal for the enactment of a law to safeguard the free Senior High School (SHS) programme from political interference.
The senior law lecturer at a public lecture noted that, the programme could be reversed by successive governments, hence the need for a law to protect it. But Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia at the Tamale Senior High School’s (Tamasco) 23rd speech and prize-giving day, said the free SHS programme does not need any legal backing.
“Free senior high school education doesn’t have to be backed by law to be funded. What is required is commitment and the political will to make sure that the budgetary resources are made available to support it. We are covering everybody and we are making the budgetary provision for it.”
He explained the rationale for the introduction of the free SHS policy saying, “The beginning of government’s commitment to building human capacity for this country is the introduction in September this year the free senior high school policy across the country.”
“This policy has undoubtedly widened access to senior high school education and provided equal opportunities to all students in our efforts to provide access to quality education.”
The Vice President said government will sustain the programme at all cost.
“Government will continue to engage all stakeholders to address any challenges in implementing the free senior high school policy in a holistic and an all-inclusive manner. We remain committed in our conviction that we will overcome all the challenges and hurdles. We know that there are challenges that have been with furniture, beds and so on.”
Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia said government budgeted for 1.1 million cedis for the free SHS programme as captured in the 2018 financial statement.
He promised hard working teachers incentive packages including an affordable housing scheme.
Touching on the theme, “Secondary education in Northern Ghana: producing responsible citizens through discipline,” he bemoaned the widespread cases of students’ indiscipline across the country.
“In the 21st century today, it is no secret that indiscipline has become a serious problem in most senior high schools across the country. Indiscipline manifest in gangs, drugs, bullying of fellow students and often vandalism when students don’t get what they want. Tamasco cannot be exempted from this plague of indiscipline that seems to be spreading across high schools in the country.”
He challenged the students to serve as role models in school and in their localities.
“I encourage you all the students of this great school and all senior high school students across the country to be responsible citizens, upholding the highest standards of ethics and we should aspire to be major contributors to our national development.”
He further cautioned the students against cultural adulteration copied from social media.
As an old Tamascan, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia promised his alma mater a number of legacy projects to address the infrastructure deficit there.”
The head teacher of Tamasco, Suaib Wilberforce Adams, on behalf of his colleagues in the Northern Region commended government for the introduction of the free SHS programme.
He disclosed that Tamasco admitted 792 qualified beneficiaries of the free SHS programme for the 2017/18 academic year.
The head teacher listed overcrowding in dormitories, dilapidated structures, inadequate classroom blocks and poor lighting system on the school compound as some of the teething challenges.
He also mentioned robbery, rape, students’ use of mobile phones, encroachment on school land and recalcitrant motorists’ violation of traffic regulations as some of the disturbing phenomenon that needed immediate attention.
Suaib Wilberforce Adams implored all old students and philanthropists to support his administration in its quest to maintain Tamasco’s status.
Northern Regional Director of the Ghana Education Service, Alhaji Mohammed Haroon, condemned some individuals’ attempt to own school properties including bungalows.
He vowed to retrieve those that have already been sold out and called for a stop to such practice. Alhaji Mohammed Haroon said all lands within the education ridge enclave should be secured for future development.
He extolled some prominent scholars of northern origin and admonished the youth to make education their major priority.
The acting Vice Chancellor of Tamale Technical University, Professor Abdulai Asuro Salifu, praised government for introducing the free SHS programme which in his estimation could bridge the yawning educational gap between the south and the north.
Professor Asuro Salifu emphasized the need for students’ discipline across board.
He mentioned Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, former President John Dramani Mahama, former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Issahaku Nashiru, incumbent Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, former Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Alhaji Rahim Gbedamoshi, Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini and Tolon- Naa Alhaji Yakubu Tali among others as some of Northern Ghana’s eminent personalities.
Some deserving students of the school received various awards for their outstanding performances.