After months of preparations, the government, through the Education Ministry has successfully launched the Free SHS programme with the President acknowledging the sector minister.
President Akufo-Addo in delivering his speech at the launch of the flagship programme hailed the Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh for his leadership and effort in getting the policy successfully implemented.
“To the minister of education, the Hon. Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, MP Manhyia South, who has provided such dynamic leadership for the realisation of this all important initiative. I say ayekoo” Akufo-Addo emphasised adding “I dare say that by the time of your term in office you would have joined the pantheon of great Ghanaian Education Ministers, Kojo Botsio, Francis Bua and Yaw Osaafo Marfo”
“I want to thank all those who have worked so hard this year to ensure that this policy sees the light of day. Your contributions have been invaluable and your sacrifices will not be in vain. A grateful nation will acknowledge them” the president said appreciating and recognising the contribution of all stakeholders.
President Akufo Addo added that government will accept any constructive criticism to improve the programme.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh says as part of government's Free SHS policy, capitation grant, as well as feeding grant and other arrears, will be duly honoured.
He said for the first time in the history of the country, students would not have to pay fees before they start school.
The Free SHS Policy is the flagship education programme of the government that seeks to increase access to secondary education by removing the burden of paying fees from parents.
Under the policy, government would foot all bills including feeding fees, tuition fees and all other charges.
The government has projected to spend GHC480 million in the 2017/2018 academic year on more than 400,000 Basic Education Certificate Examination candidates, who gained admissions to second cycle institutions of their choice, which would be funded through the Annual Budget Funding.
The policy was a major campaign promise by then candidate Nana Akufo Addo in 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections.