President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has warned all heads of senior high schools (SHS) in the country not to charge unapproved fees under the Free SHS policy.
According to the president, there are a handful of reactionary elements who are determined to undermine the Free SHS policy, but gave the assurance that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government would make sure that sanctions are applied to any headmaster or headmistress who indulges in illegality in an attempt to sabotage the policy, which he said is serving as a catalyst for development.
“No headmaster or headmistress, therefore, is to charge any unapproved or illegal fees, or charge fees already exempted under the Free SHS policy. Government will make sure of this, and sanction any school head who flouts this directive,” he warned.
President Akufo-Addo gave the warning on Saturday when he addressed staff and students of Pope John Senior High School during the school’s 60th anniversary celebration in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional capital.
“We have a sacred duty to our children, and to the generations beyond, in ensuring that irrespective of their circumstances, their right to education is preserved,” he stressed.
The president said that a government may not be able to make every citizen rich, but with the political will and responsible leadership, a government can help create a society of opportunities and empowerment for every citizen.
“I know there is no better way to do so but through access to education. Any country that aims to transform itself into a modern productive player in the global marketplace must get its educational policies right.
“It is public knowledge now that prior to the launch of the Free SHS policy, our children were falling out of the educational system at every stage in alarming numbers. Free SHS has enabled 90,000 more students gain access to senior high school education in 2017, than in 2016,” President Akufo-Addo indicated.
Without the implementation of this policy, he explained that 90,000 young men and women, without any employable skills, and thrown onto the streets, would have further entrenched a future of hopelessness for Ghana’s youth.
President Akufo Addo highlighting the challenges confronting the Free SHS policy, noted that procurement processes are currently ongoing for the provision of some 69,500 mono desks, 13,100 beds, furniture for dining halls, staff rooms for teachers, computer laboratories and marker boards for classrooms.
He said that funding had been secured for the expansion and upgrading of facilities in 75 senior high schools across the country, and that construction works on the existing Community Day Schools were also ongoing.
He said the government would also upgrade 42 senior high schools into model schools, beginning this year.