President Akufo-Addo Fulfills Dream As School Reopens Today with Start of Free SHS Program

| Updated Sep 11, 2017 at 6:32am



Public Senior High School reopens today with the implementation of a major policy decision, the Free Senior High School program as schools reopens across the country today, September 11, 2017.

About 400,000 students are expected to benefit from the education policy that will exempt them from paying for tuition and other fees.

At the launch of the logo for the policy some two weeks ago, President Akufo-Addo said apart from free tuition there will be no fees collected for use of the library, computers, utilities etc.

There will also be a free hot meal for day students as well.

“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 President said recently.

President Akufo-Addo, at any given opportunity, never fails to mention the policy and his obsession to execute it through his “vibrant and energetic” Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh.

The President is expected to provide further details on policy when he launches it on Tuesday, September 12, at the West African Senior High School (WASS) in Accra.

This will be a fulfillment of his long held campaign promise and dream as far back as the 2008 elections.

The debate over the source of funding for the free SHS program remains contentious.

Senior Minister, Yaw Osarfo Maafo has said the government would use money from the Heritage Fund to fund the policy, but this has been heavily criticised.

Critics say the Heritage fund was meant to be reserved for the use by future generations.

However, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta subsequently announced that contrary to Mr. Osafo Maafo’s claims, the program will be funded with the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA). He said it will cost government GH¢400 million to implement the program for just the 2017/2018 academic year.

Meanwhile, former Deputy Education Minister, Samuel Okdujeto Ablakwa, is convinced the design of the program will work against quality education.

"It is not sustainable, especially under the current circumstances. If they want to just for political expediency [implement it] quality will have to suffer," Mr. Ablakwa said recently.

Currently, some schools are yet to receive funding for the implementation of the policy in spite of assurances by the government it will reflect in their accounts last Friday, September 8, 2017.

Some portions of this article was culled from myjoyonline.