General News of Saturday, 1 March 2014
President John Dramani Mahama on Friday renewed government’s commitment to abolish fees for both day and boarding students of Senior High schools in the 2015/2016 academic year.
He said while the boarding students would pay only boarding and feeding fees after its inception, day students would virtually not pay anything for their education.
President Mahama, who was addressing students of the University of Education, Winneba as part of his two-day official visit to the Central Region, added that, the progressive free SHS education his administration would be implementing was in consonance with the constitution of Ghana.
During his presentation of the state of the nation address to parliament last Tuesday, President Mahama announced that his administration would from the 2015/2016 academic year implement what he termed as ‘progressive free SHS education’.
The announcement attracted criticisms, mainly from his political opponents citing him for ‘stealing’ the idea from Nana Akufo-Addo, 2012 Presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) as that formed the major substance of his electioneering campaign.
Hitting back at his critics, President Mahama said that policy was not the exclusive rights of anybody since his checks at the Registrar General’s department revealed that nobody had the preserve of the phrase ‘Progressive Free SHS education’.
He said in coming out with the decision or policy, Ghanaian students were placed higher than the exclusive rights that were being discussed after his state of the nation’s address in Parliament last Tuesday.
He said the payment of fees at the SHS level was becoming a huge burden on most parents and their abolishment would therefore serve as a breather for them to venture into other areas that could be beneficial to their families.
On the distribution of teachers in the country, President Mahama said government would continue to provide basic social amenities to encourage teachers to accept postings to any part of the country.
He said the provision of the amenities would also help stem the lopsided distribution of teachers in Ghana, where most of them were concentrated in the urban areas to the dereliction of rural communities.
Professor Akwasi Asabere Ameyaw appealed to the government to step up the provision of infrastructure in the University to accommodate the over 50, 000 students throughout the campuses in the country.
He said much as they were having the intentions of increasing enrolment in all their campuses; they would as well not compromise on quality of education.'
Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, Minister of Education gave the assurance that her outfit would continue to hold consultative workshops and surveys to find out areas that could create more jobs for students to be trained.