President Nana Akufo-Addo, of Ghana, has announced free education will begin in all government-owned secondary school across the country beginning from September.
The President disclosed this in a speech he delivered on Saturday at the 60th Anniversary celebration of Okuapeman School where he was the Special Guest of Honour said the government would fund free education in public Senior High Schools (SHS) for all those who qualify from the 2017/2018 academic year.
“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 laboratory 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.
“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.”
The Ghanaian president noted that a society that aims to transform itself into a modern, productive player in the global market, needs an educated workforce; and that means it must get its educational policies right.
He said the fact that Ghana has been unable to give all its citizens the education which had enabled the West and of Asia countries to thrive, was the missing link in the country’s economic development.
The Ghanaian leader said his administration would also focus on the provision of incentives that would motivate teachers and reward their hard work.
The free SHS policy was one of the promises of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the last electioneering campaigns.
Reacting to the free education policy introduced by the president, the Policy Think Tank, IMANI Ghana has opined that the much hyped free Senior High School policy by the New Patriotic Party is likely to face some setbacks.
According to Head of Economics at IMANI, Patrick Stephenson said the current economic conditions in the country will pose a setback to the policy.
“The way we had talked about the whole free senior higher education and how it’s going to be implemented, the idea itself may not be a problem, but how we should treat it within the structure of the educational system as we speak today so that the targeted persons get to benefit.
“I think that’s been the problem to the extent that we have not seen sufficient clarity from the current government is making it very difficult to appreciate what the intended objectives are.”
In a bid to improve access to education, the Gambian government in 2015, declared free education in all public schools from primary to secondary levels.
According to the country’s Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE), the removal of school levies is under the School Improvement Grant (SIG) funded by the government in a bid to provide education for all Gambian citizens.
Expensive school fees continue to be a stumbling block preventing students in many African countries from accessing education. According to United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), school fees are widely recognised as one of the strongest barriers to achieving universal primary education., consuming nearly a quarter of a poor family’s income in sub-Saharan Africa.