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HUGE RELIEF FOR PARENTS - As free SHS comes alive

General News

There is currently a big relief in the country, especially among parents whose wards would be benefitting from one of the New Patriotic Party government’s flagship programmes, the Free Senior High School policy.

There is currently a big relief in the country, especially among parents whose wards would be benefitting from one of the New Patriotic Party government’s flagship programmes, the Free Senior High School policy.

 

The policy which commenced yesterday has generated so much euphoria within the country that a trip to some of the senior high schools around the capital showed how parents and their wards were briskly going about the registration process smoothly.

Hitherto the implementation of the policy, many had anticipated that it would be besieged with glitches and hitches.

However, from the interviews and checks conducted by the Daily Statesman, it was evidently clear parents were not having so much problems in the registration process.

Most of the parents who granted interview to this paper expressed relief that the policy had taken so much burden off them with regards to the pressure that comes with paying schools.

The Daily Statesman visited the Labone and Thomas Aquinas Senior High Schools where most of the parents commended the President and further appealed to Ghanaians not to politicize it.

According to them, the policy would guarantee a good future for the country’s youth if sustained.

They added that unlike previously when hundreds of students were denied admission into senior high schools because of financial constraints, the policy would go a long way to ensure that many children get access to education.

Madam Adwoa Osei-Wusu, a parent, whose son gained admission to Labone Senior High School,  said the process had been smoother than anticipated.

She, however, called on government to ensure that the disbursement of funds is done on time, so that it would not hinder the laudable policy.

"If we politicize this, poor people like us and our children would suffer. Let's support the initiative irrespective of our political affiliation," she said

At Thomas Aquinas, a parent, who gave his name as Nana Kwasi, said the policy is laudable but called on government to ensure its sustainability.

He said the process had been smooth even though there were some initial challenges at the initial stages.

A tutor at Labone, speaking on condition of anonymity,  said the registration had encounter less problems and was hopeful it would be sustained in the coming days.

 “We have been able to manage the situation so far  in terms of the number of parents that trooped  in to ensure that their ward gets  placement. We had to divide ourselves in groups so that we attend to everyone,” Nana Kwasi.

The free Senior High School policy to be launched today by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo,at the West African Senior High School at Adentan in the Greater Accra Region, would see over 400,000 first year students gaining admission into various courses in public senior high schools nationwide.

The President first disclosed the takeoff of the free SHS policy when he delivered the keynote address at the 60th anniversary of Okuapenman SHS in February where he said his government would be honouring their campaign promise of providing free SHS to Ghanaian children by September 2017.

President Nana Akufo-Addo had gone on to clarified that “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 lab 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.”

The free SHS would also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level.

The President also assured that they are well-thought out plan that involved the building of new public Senior High Schools and cluster public Senior High Schools.

According to him, he is committed, “without any equivocation, without any reservation, without any doubt”, to take Ghana to the stage where public Senior High School education will be free for every Ghanaian child."

Last two weeks, the President and his vice, Dr Bawumia, outdoored the logo for the policy, where he reiterated that the government is determined to sustain the policy.

Though there had been many doubts towards the policy especially from the opposition National Democratic Congress, the President has assured that they policy would be sustained through pragmatic management of the public purse.

“..If we understand that this is important not because a political party has made it a mantra and that the promise made is being fulfilled but because it goes to the heart of what we need to do to get our country going,” he said.

As at last week Friday, during a meeting with MMDAs in Tamale, deputy Minister of Education, Yaw Osei Adutwum, announced that government had disbursed funds to Senior High Schools to help speed up its Free SHS Policy implementation.

He said this was to help ensure immediate tuitions in the various SHSs in the country for the new academic year, adding that government was also putting in place other requirements such as the distribution of text books for all levels to match the intake of students this year and also to aid teaching and learning.

Expected to grace today’s launch would the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashitey; Minister of Education, Mathew Opoku Prempeh and the Director of the Ghana Education Service, Kwasi Opoku Amankwa.