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General News of Thursday, 5 June 2014

Source: citifmonline.com

Roadmap for free SHS completed – Minister

The Ministry of Education has revealed a roadmap has been prepared for the introduction of free Senior High School (SHS) education in Ghana.

According to the Ministry, the road map will largely support needy and vulnerable students.

This was disclosed by the sector Minister, Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, who took her turn at the Meet the Press series.

President John Mahama in his State of the Nation Address early this year announced that his government will introduce a progressively free SHS education policy in 2015.

The president later indicated the implementation of the policy will cost Ghana approximately GHC71 million.

Government was widely criticized for its decision as some believed there were no prior consultations with relevant stakeholders on the most effective way to implement the policy.

Others were also of the view that the current economic challenges in Ghana cannot support such a policy.

Some teacher unions complained that the free SHS policy will further reduce quality of education.

However, the Minister of Education said although the road map is yet to receive cabinet approval, the policy will certainly be implemented.

She explained that there is a high demand for senior high school education in Ghana and the situation has compelled some schools to admit students beyond their capacity.

“This has led to circumstances in which some schools admit as many as 3,000 students and over. This is significantly higher that the prescribed average of between 1,200 and 1,500 per school,” the minister said.

Prof. Opoku Agyeman noted that her outfit, following with stakeholders has prepared a report on the progressive implementation of the free SHS which is primarily targeted at underprivileged students.

She urged Ghanaians to anticipate that “fees for day students will be abolished at an estimated cost of GHC71 million in the year of implementation.”

According to her, issues relating to boarding students will be announced soon.

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