Economy

400000 freshmen to benefit from Ghana's maiden free high school policy

400000 freshmen to benefit from Ghana's maiden free high school policy”

The promise gathered momentum in the 2016 elections despite an attempt by the previous National Democratic Congress' (NDC) government to implement the policy.

Launching his government's flagship programme, Free SHS, at the West Africa Secondary School (WASS) in Accra on Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo said he was branded a "liar" by his political opponents when he first promised a free senior high school education ahead of the 2008 elections.

The government has said it will serve all day-students lunch as part of the Free SHS program, despite the lack of proper eating places for some schools but according to Mr. Nsowah, while government tries to resolve the issue, heads of the various schools can develop ingenious ways of ensuring there is a healthy and convenient place of eating for students who will receive the lunch pack from government.

He said a trend analysis conducted over the last five years revealed that this year's approved fees should not have been less than GH¢1,320 for boarders and GH¢715 for day students.

"By its inability to roll out Free SHS to cover those in second and third years, the NPP has only successfully vindicated those who said Akufo-Addo's Free SHS promise was a hoax", Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu told the media on Monday.

But, on Kumasi-based Otec FM, former Deputy Education Minister, Honorable Alex Kyeremeh, said the current "Free Senior High School" policy by the ruling party NPP is rather progressive and not absolutely free as perceived by them, adding that it is an idea of Former President John Dramani Mahama.

"We make bold to predict that if care is not taken, what will emerge in our SHSs is a category of fee-paying students for the wards of parents who can afford to pay fees for their wards and another category of so-called free SHS students, thus introducing a class system into our public SHSs", he said.

In another development, the NDC has asked the government to apologize for keeping continuing students out of the Free SHS programme. Nonetheless, the Ghanaian people were discerning and believed it was possible.

"What is clear to me is that government is going to struggle to find the money".

In addition, teacher trainee allowances would be restored as promised by the Government.

"There is no component in the budget for infrastructure, computer laboratories, teacher motivation and teaching and learning materials".

Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), said such a major policy intervention to Ghanaians was arguably the most significant policy initiative given aside the National Health Insurance Scheme.



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