They said Free SHS was 'hoax, impossible'; it's here – Bawumia

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia

Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said the Akufo-Addo government has made Free Senior High School a possibility despite doubts by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

“We thank God for today. They said it was impossible. They said it was an election gimmick. They said it was a hoax. Today, the impossible has become possible. Today, Free Senior High School education is here. We thank God for the vision and fortitude of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.God bless our homeland Ghana,” Dr Bawumia said on his Facebook page.

Meanwhile the government’s flagship programme will be launched today, Tuesday, 12 September 2017 at the West African Secondary School (WASS) at Adenta in Accra.

President Nana Akufo-Addo will launch the programme to officially announce its takeoff, his spokesperson, Mustapha Hamid, told Moro Awudu on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM.

“Nana Akufo-Addo is expected to reiterate the various components of this programme, justify why he thinks that this is the best way for our country to go and to renew his commitment to see to it that the next generation of Ghanaian students have the best that they should have as far as education is concern,” Mr Hamid stated.

Meanwhile, the Free SHS begun on Monday, 11 September 2017. First year students who were successfully placed in various SHSs reported officially.

The placement into SHSs has been fraught with hitches this year, with several thousands of prospective students still struggling to get admission.

Meanwhile, Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei-Asare, has given assurance that government is ready to disburse the funds needed to allow the smooth implementation of the programme.

She said the Ministry had finalised preparations to credit the accounts of 647 public SHS and was waiting for the Ministry of Education to provide them with the numbers of students in each of those schools.

“We have a list of all the 647 schools and all their account numbers. Latest by close of day [Friday], all the schools will be credited with the amounts that they need to roll out the policy,” she stated.

Mrs Osei-Asare announced this at the 57th Annual General Meeting of the Ghana Employers Association held in Accra on Thursday.

She said government, in consultation with the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), had agreed to provide 50% of the amount needed for the rolling out of the policy, instead of the 20 per cent initially decided.

In line with this, government will disburse GH¢280million of the total GH¢480 million needed to implement the policy in this academic year.

She also entreated banks, some of whom were represented at the AGM, to ensure that they notified the schools as soon as the accounts were credited.

Mrs Osei-Asare urged Ghanaians to detach politics from the implementation of the policy and embrace it as a social intervention that would allow all Ghanaians to have access to basic education up to the senior high school level.

“We need your support. Let’s not look at it as a political thing but as social justice. Yes, the NPP government, President Akufo-Addo will be credited with it but at the same time let us look at the social aspect, and that is, we are giving everybody, not just the rich, the opportunity to get at least, basic education,” she said.

This, she said, will help to improve labour skills in the country.