President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, making good his promise of free secondary education, on Saturday declared that beginning September this year, public senior high schools (SHS) would be free.
“The government of Ghana will fund the cost of public senior high schools for all those who qualify for entry from the 2017/2018 academic year onwards,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo was delivering a speech at the 60th Anniversary celebration and the Speech and Prize Giving Day of Okuapeman School in Akropong in the Eastern Region on the theme: “One Vision, Many Lives”.
“Let me take this opportunity to spell out clearly what we intend to do so no one in Ghana is left in any doubt.
“By free SHS we mean that in addition to tuition which is already free, there will be no admission fee, no library fee, no science centre fee, no computer lab fee, no examination fee, and no utility fee; there will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals, and day students will get a meal at school for free.” President Akufo-Addo said.
The President said: “Free SHS will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level. I also want to state clearly again that we have a well-thought-out plan that involves the building of new public senior high schools and cluster public senior high schools”.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that the progress Ghana had made over its sixty years of independence was slower than it should have been, adding; “it is time to take a bold move that will enable us to make rapid progress to transform our economy and the lives of Ghanaians.”
He noted that any society that aimed to transform itself into a modern and productive player in the global market needed an educated workforce and should get it educational policies right.
President Akufo-Addo said the country’s inability to give all citizens the education which had enabled countries of the West and Asia to thrive had created the missing link in economic development.
“For this reason, I am 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.
“I want 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 tomorrow…I want every Ghanaian child to be comfortable in the knowledge that when they work hard, they are 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,” President Akufo-Addo said to deafening applause from the elated gathering.
He pledged to renovate and fully equip the Science Resource Centre of Okuapeman School as a commemorative event for its 60th Anniversary.