President Nana Akufo -Addo has called on Ghanaians to keep critics of his Free Senior High School (SHS)policy in opposition because the policy has come to stay.
According to the president, over 1.2 million Ghanaian students from SHS 1 to 3 will benefit from the policy this September.
Reacting to critics of the policy, Nana Addo, admonished Ghanaians not to vote for political parties that intend to scrap the Free SHS program.
Critics on the National Democratic Congress side have described the policy as unsustainable with now-National Democratic Congress flagbearer, John Mahama calling for stakeholder consultations.
President Akufo-Addo-Addo said this at Bolgatanga Senior High School in the Upper East region as part of his two- day working visit.
“From September this year, all students from SHS 1-3, are all going to beneficiaries of the Free SHS policy across Ghana. It will mean that in the first time in our history, over 1.2 million students will be enrolled in SHS education in the country. These figures have never ever been attained in our history as at now. We have heard the Ministry of Education say that, enrollment in our SHSs have gone up 48 percent basically since the policy was introduced. This policy has come to stay. I know there are people in this country, who don’t want this policy and have been campaigning against this policy. They are dreaming that they are going to come back to power to cancel the policy. I want them to know that the people of Ghana are not going to subscribe to those dreams. They are not coming back to power – and the Free SHS has come to stay.”
The president assured Ghanaians of his commitment to judiciously use part of the oil revenue to fund educational policies in the country.
“I have heard a lot of people saying that I am spending a lot of money on education. I am saying to them, it is better that we spend the money on the future of Ghana than just consuming and chopping it. Before I became President, I said, I was prepared to use the oil money to educate our children and not to allow it to go into the pockets of politicians civil servants and that is exactly what we are doing.”
GHc1.682 billion had been earmarked for the implementation of the Free SHS programme in the 2019 budget.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC’s) has said that the government’s seeming deliberate devotion to the free Senior High School policy is going to end up damaging the credibility of public sector secondary education in the country arguing that the too much money is being spent on secondary education at the expense of other sectors.
John Mahama, has also said the government’s refusal to consult extensively with stakeholders before implementing the policy led to some major setbacks with its implementation.
“If you are spending most of your money on secondary education and less on technical and basic then there is something wrong with your educational system. Some of us foresaw the difficulties that they are facing today and that is why we tried to warn them,” Mr. Mahama has said.
But the government will not succumb to the pressure from the opposition. The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta believes Ghana’s future generation will be grateful to the Akufo-Addo government for introducing the free Senior High School policy.