President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has warned that heads of Senior High Schools (SHSs) across the country who undermine the Free SHS Policy by charging unapproved or exempted fees would be sanctioned.
He said the Government, through the Ghana Education Service and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools had resolved to absorb all fees under the Free SHS Policy, thus every directive concerning the Policy should be adhered to strictly.
“No headmaster or headmistress, therefore, is to charge any unapproved or illegal fees or charge fees already exempted under the Free SHS Policy. Government will make sure of this and sanction any school head who flouts this directive,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo gave the warning when he attended the 60th Anniversary celebration of Pope John Senior High School and Minor Seminary in Koforidua on Saturday.
“We have a sacred duty to our children and to the generations beyond in ensuring that irrespective of their circumstances their right to an education is preserved,” he said.
The President indicated that a government may not be able to make every citizen rich, but with the political will and responsible leadership, a government can help create a society of opportunities and empowerment for every citizen.
“I know no better way to do so but through access to education. Any country that aims to transform itself into a modern productive player in the global marketplace must get its educational policies right,” the President said.
President Akufo-Addo told the staff and students of the School that citizens could only make informed choices if they were empowered with the capacity to make those choices.
Education, he said, was key to human development, transforming a country, widening life’s options for individuals and society as a whole, and a tool for national development and a healthy democracy.
“It is public knowledge now that prior to the launch of the Free SHS Policy our children were falling out of the educational system at every stage in alarming numbers. Free SHS has enabled 90,000 more students to gain access to Senior High School education in 2017, than in 2016,” the President said.
Without the implementation of this policy the spectre of 90,000 young men and women, without any employable skills and thrown onto the streets, would have further entrenched a future of hopelessness for Ghana’s youth, he said.
President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that government was addressing the teething challenges confronting the Free SHS Policy.
He disclosed that procurement processes are currently on-going for the award of contracts for the provision of some 69,500 mono desks, 13,100 bunk beds, furniture for dining halls, staff rooms of teachers, computer laboratories, and marker boards for classrooms.
“Again, funding has been secured for the expansion and upgrading of facilities in 75 senior high schools across the country with construction works on the existing Community Day Schools ongoing. Government, beginning this year, will also upgrade 42 senior high schools into model school status,” he added.