Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed that government will in 2018 budget allocate GHS1 billion to sustain the free Senior High School (SHS) programme.
Dr. Bawumia announced this when he launched the free SHS policy at the Tamale Senior High School (Tamasco) in the Northern Region.
He said this will ensure that more students get access to quality SHS education to reduce the burden of parents spending much to raise their wards for a better future.
The introduction and implementation of the free SHS has recorded an increase of student intake by 94 percent in 2017 as compared to 70 percent in the previous year.
More than 400,000 students have been placed so far and about 20,000 students are expected to be enrolled under the free SHS programme.
The pro-poor policy which is one of the cardinal principles of government is aimed at easing the burden on parents and encouraged more enrollment of students in secondary schools as well as enable parents to assume their responsibility to the social upbringing and parental control of their wards.
The Vice President who addressed school heads and beneficiaries of the policy at Tamasco Ghana Senior High and Tamale Girls SHS among other schools in the region was also there to assess the level of the implementation of the policy which was launched by the President a week ago.
He reiterated government’s commitment to sustain the free SHS policy with funding to ensure all children across the country get better education to contribute towards economic growth.
“We believe the key to unlock our economic progress as a nation is education and that is why Nana Akufo-Addo has not reneged his campaign promise.
We know that it is possible and we are not going to be limited in our thinking by impossibility thoughts, our thoughts are thoughts of possibility. We know that when you start a policy such as this you cannot stop but to sustain and by the grace of God it will be sustained.
We are not going to stop free Senior High School education in Ghana. 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,” he added.
According to him, it is the government’s priority to ensure that every child get access to quality education which is the key to unlocking the economic growth of the country.
“The key to economic growth is technical change and the key to technical change is human capital and the key to human capital accumulation is education,” he said.
He explained that the free SHS has been the policy of government since 2009 because quality education has helped to improve most African countries.
He said efforts would be made to address all challenges that might be encountered to ensure its smooth delivering in the country.
The Northern Regional Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools, Mr. Shaibu Adam Wilberforce who praised government for the initiative said the implementation of the free SHS has resulted to the high enrolment in the region as recorded previously.
“We are feeling the breeze of the policy and that we are ready as heads of institutions to support government achieve the aim of churning out quality future leaders” he stated.
He encouraged the students to take their studies seriously benefit from the programme and also be good future leaders.
The Northern Regional Minister Mr. Salifu Saeed noted that the region being one of the poorest in the country can now enjoy quality education to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.
He advised the heads of second cycle institutions to follow the due process tyo admit the fresh students and avoid charging unapproved fees that would deny many the opportunity to access education.