In fulfilling a flagship campaign promise prior to the 2016 general elections, the ministry of education has facilitated the implementation of Free SHS, covering 721 public senior high schools and technical/vocational institutes.
The removal of school fees and levies has cleared a major stumbling block to student enrolment, ensuring that nearly 50% more students over the period gained access to SHS education where it would previously have ended at JHS. This relief on parents has benefited not just the pupils, but has improved their economic standing now that government has taken this load off their shoulders.
The programme has been a remarkable success. From a figure of about 800,000 pupils in 2016, the figure has risen to over 1.2 million in the 2019/2020 academic year. In order to handle the improved enrollment figures, the government instituted the double track system, allowing two sets of students for each year to report for lessons at different times of the academic year, while maximising teaching and material resources.
The introduction of the 30% equity policy also means that students from public schools entering the category A senior high schools has risen from 10% to 49% in just three years. At the same time, 90% of JHS graduates now enroll in SHS, increased from 68% previously.
In order to relieve parents further, the following have been provided for students as well: WAEC-approved mathematics sets, WASSCE questions and answers and chief examiners’ reports, core mathematics revision books, and one hot meal to all day students. In addition Government absorbed WAEC Registration Fees for students starting in 2020.
A total number of 1,029,000 school uniforms were distributed to Public Basic Schools in selected deprived communities in the country between 2016/17 and 2019/20 academic years. Senior high schools also enjoy free internet connectivity, and 150 cedis per student per year in remedial interventions.
This is just the start. As Ghana prepares to take on the world through ambitious programmes for poverty reduction and wealth creation, education is at the very heart of all these plans. The Nana Akufo-Addo government is spearheading our march to the future with vision, leadership and an understanding of tomorrow’s needs. We’ve come too far to go back now.
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