President Akufo-Addo has revealed his government will resort to “proceeds from natural resources” to fund the free Senior High School policy.
The policy is to ensure that every student eligible to enter second cycle institution gains admission with free meal and tuition.
“To ensure that no child is denied access to secondary education, we are removing one of the biggest obstacles that currently stand in their way: cost. The cost of providing free secondary school education will be cheaper than the cost of the alternative of an uneducated and unskilled workforce that has the capacity to retard our development,” President Akufo-Addo stated at the launch of the policy in Accra Tuesday.
“Instead of the revenues from our mineral and oil resources ending up in the hands of a few people, the most equitable and progressive way of using these revenues is to educate and empower our population to strengthen our nation. In so doing, we would be on the way to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal no. 4, which calls for inclusive and equitable education, and the promotion of lifelong opportunities for all. As co-Chair of the Advocacy Group of Eminent Persons of the SDGs, their implementation is a matter of the highest public priority for me.”
He said the implementation of the free Senior High School Education is a choice he has made as a leader, adding his choice, however, is about the children of Ghana and how to make them assets to the State.
He added: “Leadership is about choices – I have chosen to invest in the future of our youth and of our country. We have decided to use the proceeds from our natural resources to help educate the population to drive our economic transformation.
“Today, we throw open the doors of opportunity and hope to our young people. From this day on, we lift the financial burden off our parents, and the heart-rending anxiety that accompanies the beginning of every school term. We have a sacred duty to our children and the generations beyond in ensuring that, irrespective of their circumstances, their right to an education is preserved. That is why government has decided to absorb all senior high school fees that have been agreed between the Ghana Education Service Council and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS)” the President stated.
He also said he wants every Ghanaian child to attend secondary school not just for what they learn in books, but for the life experiences that they will gain.
“I want each of them to look in the mirror in the morning, every morning, and know that they can achieve anything they dream of when they complete their studies. I want them to be confident that what they study is relevant to the demands of today, and of tomorrow. I want every Ghanaian child to be comfortable in the knowledge that, when they work hard, they will be as capable as anyone else in the world. And I want parents to look upon their children with pride, as they watch them mature into self-confident adults,” he added.
The President observed that at the heart of the Free SHS policy is quality teachers and teaching. He underscored that his government has a parallel programme to ensure that the Free SHS policy runs with a teacher development programme.
“Central, too, to the prospects of this policy is the teacher. A well-trained, confident and contented teacher is essential in the delivery of quality education. If we are to succeed as a nation, and if we accept that education is central to national development, then it is clear that quality teacher training is vital to our nation’s development. It is for this reason that we are committed to teacher professional development through schemes such as Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL),” he said.