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Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta during the budget reading today said government intends to solicit funds from members of the public who wish to contribute to the growth of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
This, according to Ken Ofori-Atta, was influenced by calls to establish a fund for voluntary contributions towards the growth of the Free SHS project adding that, the GET FUND Law which allows for creating of education-related funds made it possible for government to execute this plan.
“Mr. Speaker, with the successful launch of the FREE SHS, Government has received proposals from the public, several of which encourage the establishment of a fund to receive voluntary contributions to support education,” he said.
“Thankfully, the GET FUND Law allows for the setting up of other education-related funds. In 2018, the Ministry will work with GET FUND to set up this education fund to enable Ghanaians make voluntary contributions to support education,” he added.
Despite criticism about the implementation of the Free SHS program from sections of the general public, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia in a bid to prove the masses wrong said during a visit to Tamale Senior High School (TAMASCO) that government intended to allocate about GHC 1 billion to the development for the Free SHS program.
He is reported to have said, “Next year, we will spend about a billion cedis on free SHS because it is money worth spending and we will do it because it is our pride. We believe the key to unlocking our economic progress as a nation is education and that is why Nana Akufo-Addo has not reneged his campaign promise. It is going to be sustained because it is our priority and once it is our priority we will call the budgetary resources for it.”
The Free SHS policy which was launched by government in September this year, saw a massive enrolment, raising the figures from 300,195 in the 2016/17 academic year to 396,951 in the 2017/18 which is about a 32 percent increase in SHS enrolments.
Meanwhile, government is set to meet the Conference of Heads of Private Second Cycle Schools in Ghana (CHOPSS) to deliberate on the Free SHS policy as most heads of Private Senior High Schools have complained about on the implementation of the Free SHS is hurting their business.
In an interview on Asempa FM, Minister for Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh said government has not neglected private schools, debunking claims that only government schools were to benefit from the program; “We have not rejected CHOPSS in the free SHS.”
Mr. Speaker, the theme for the 2018 Budget is “Putting Ghana Back to Work”. This theme reflects the tools provided in the 2018 budget to energize the entreprenueral spirit within every Ghanaian. The job of the Akufo-Addo Government is to assist the people with the tools and the evironment to go out there to work and earn a decent living and improve their lives. We plan on providing opportunity for as many Ghanaians as possible to initiate projects on their own or us.’
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