President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will provide further details on the free senior high school programme when he launches the policy on September 12, this year.
The event will be held at the West Africa Senior High School (WASS) to officially signal the country’s implementation of the policy.
The Director of Public Relations of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Rev. Jonathan Bettey, who made this known in an interview with the Graphic Youth World, noted that all was set for the smooth commencement of the programme.
“Parents who are interested and also anxious to know much more about the programme can be there. On September 12 the President will give details of all the promises he has made on the programme for the good people of Ghana,” he said.
He said there were a lot of speculations that the free SHS would not come to fruition but “I can assure you that the programme will take off smoothly because of the preparations that have been made for its implementation”.
At the 60th anniversary of the Okuapeman SHS at Akropong-Akuapem, President Akufo-Addo said the free SHS was aimed at building an educated populace for speedy national development and progress.
“By free SHS, we mean that in addition to tuition, which is already free, there will be no admission fees, no library fees, no science centre fees, no computer laboratory fees, no examination fees, no utility fees. There will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals and day students will get a meal at school for free.
“Free SHS will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level,” the President explained, drawing cheers from the gathering.
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister for Education and the Free SHS Ambassador, Abraham Attah.
Rev. Bettey emphasised that no SHS student would be required to pay any fees as stated by the President, and stated that the fact that SHS education was non-fee paying did not mean that parents should shirk their responsibilities to their children.
“The free SHS does not mean that parents should shirk their responsibilities to their children. Provide whatever you feel your child needs to take to school as a kind of support or complement,” he said.
For instance, he said free SHS did not mean that parents should not provide their children with a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card to cater for their healthcare.
Providing education, Rev. Bettey said, was a shared responsibility and that it was incumbent on all stakeholders: parents, guardians, teachers, school heads and the government to work together to give Ghanaian children the requisite education they need for their development.
He added that teachers and heads of schools had been briefed on the free SHS policy, so with their collaboration the government expected a smooth implementation.
So far, a total of 267,327 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates have been placed in the schools they chose out of the total of 424,092 who qualified. The remaining candidates who are yet to be placed have, however, been given the opportunity to select schools from a list of schools with vacancies on www.myjhsresult.net.
President Akufo-Addo last week unveiled the Free SHS logo at the presidency.
The Vice President of the Republic, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia; the Minister for Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh; the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah, and officials from the Ministry of Education were present at the ceremony during which the President noted that “the coming into effect of the Free SHS policy is vital for the transformation of the Ghanaian economy.”
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