Free SHS, Ghana Beyond Aid: Perspective Of Second Cycle Students Leadership
Barely two(2) years ago the incumbent government headed by H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo promised a policy which seemed like a mission impossible, taking into account divergent comments and views of certain school of thoughts with regard to the feasibility vis-à-vis the economic strength of the country. We however, have lived to see the pilot roll out of the policy starting with first years and progressively extended to absorb the second years in the forth coming academic year.
Hence, the Greater Accra Regional SRC, as the official mouthpiece of all Second Cycle Students in the region applauds the President H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo and his government on the implementation of this Free S.H.S Education policy.
Without a shadow of doubt, the free SHS is indeed a laudable policy that has provided an opportunity for every Ghanaian child to at least have an education up to the second cycle level, as well as an equitable educational environment free of social and gender prejudice for students to compete in. The Free S.H.S has also lessened financial burdens in the form of tuition and sundry educational expenses on parents. Some of our constituents especially in the day schools do not have to hawk morning and night to raise funds to cater for fees, thereby hampering school attendance, affecting academic performances adversely and more so leading to social vices. Boarders do not have to skip an academic term just because parents could not raise enough funds to cater for fees. It has even become an example worthy of emulation and adoption by sister African countries like Sierra Leone.
In September 2017, over 400,000 B.E.C.E candidates were successfully enrolled into various Second Cycle Institutions across the country. According to the Ministry of Education, on May 29th 2018, an amount of GH¢484 million has been ‘pumped’ into the programme to facilitate its running.
Clearly, this thus indicates that the government is committed to the course of providing free, accessible and progressive education. For this reason, the roll out of this policy must be given support and safeguarded from internal threats and external risk by all education stakeholders in order to have a successful policy implementation.
Every child learnt to crawl before walking. Thus, there are bound to be challenges of the policy.
On this note, we pray the government to always be apt with release of the 20.5% quota of the Free S.H.S funds, subventions and any other benefits to the schools so our Heads of Institutions will be able to run the schools without difficulties.
The leadership of the GARSRC commends government on the recent interventions such as, the provision of thousands of mattresses, beds, benches and dormitory blocks to solve congestion issues.
On the backdrop of other existing but unattended challenges, and in seeking the welfare of our imminent constituents, we wish to remind the government of the imminent enrollment of the 2017/2018 B.E.C.E candidates into senior high schools. We the leadership of the GARSRC would not want them to encounter same problems faced by the first beneficiaries of the Free S.H.S policy. Therefore, the need to solve all existing problems before they are enrolled.
Contributing to the discourse on achieving the “Ghana beyond Aid” Vision,
the leadership on behalf of all Second Cycle students in the country, taking recourse from resolutions reached at their 32nd Annual Residential Congress of the Council recommends that extracurricular activities on leadership, entrepreneurship, computer programming and coding, Arts, among others be included in academic periods, if possible from the Basic level, in order to equip our youth and students with some appreciable technical know-how. We are confident that these activities coupled with the actualization of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) is an ideal method towards the attainment of a “Ghana Beyond Aid”. As according to Albert Einstein; “Everyone is a genius, but if you should judge the ability of a fish to climb a tree, it will spend the rest of its life thinking it’s a fool”. Therefore this enabling environment and skills acquisition will help harness the talents and potentials of our constituents even before admission into tertiary institutions. It shall also bridge the Cultural Lag between Ghana and the western world. We say; it is possible!
In conclusion, it is our hope that policies like this will not be politicized but carried through and bettered for the sake of the future of our great country by successive government.
We are praying for the Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo led administration, and counting on them to deliver towards the attainment of an excellent educational drive in the Second Cycle Sector.
God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong.
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(Public Relations Officer)
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