President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the increasing number of Ghanaian children who have gained access to Senior High Schools across the country, since 2017, is evident of the fact the Free Senior High School policy is working.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Friday, 23rd November, 2018, when he visited the Oda Senior High School, on the 2nd day of his 3-day tour of the Eastern Region.
Addressing the students, the President stated that “I am happy to see from the breakdown given by the Headmaster that the ‘Free SHS’ is, indeed, working. More and more students are entering secondary school than before. The breakdown that I took down was that the numbers in SHS 3 are 718, SHS 2, i.e. students from the first year of the policy are 854, and the current SHS One students total 1,130.
He continued, “So, the purpose of free SHS, i.e. broadening access bringing more and more people, you are the clear evidence that it is working. I am very happy about it.”
Speaking about the importance of guaranteeing access to education for all, the president explained that none of the nations that have been in Ghana’s situation, and are now regarded as global powers, were able to advance without making education open to everyone.
From the United States of America to Japan, to Korea to China, he stated that all of these countries put emphasis on broadening and opening access to education for everyone.
“The first country in the modern world to do Free Senior High School education is the United States of America. Towards the end of the 19th century was when the Americans decided to implement this policy. At that time, America was not what it is today. But it took the view that if it could make sure that every young American had the possibility of going to school, that would be the basis for the transformation of America,” he said.
This, the President explained, worked for America, adding that “today it is the biggest economic power in the history of the world. In Ghana, we are going to follow suit. We will empower our population to transform our country. You (students) are going to be spearheading that transformation of Ghana.”
With the first batch of Free SHS students set to write the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in 2020, he stated that the entire country would be watching out for their results.
“They want to see whether or not you are taking good advantage of the sacrifice the entire people of Ghana are making by giving you this opportunity. Your grades and results in 2020 are going to be scrutinised very, very closely by everybody. I know from the energy I have felt in this room, I know it (results) is going to be excellent.