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General News of Sunday, 18 February 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Don't charge unapproved fees - Akufo-Addo advises SHS heads

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says no headmaster or headmistress of any Senior High School in the country is to charge any unapproved or illegal fees, or charge fees already exempted under the Free SHS policy.

According to President Akufo-Addo, he knows there are a handful of reactionary elements in the country who are determined to undermine the Free SHS policy.

He recounted how Government, together with the Ghana Education Service and the Council and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools, has agreed to absorb all senior high school fees under the Free SHS policy.

“No headmaster or headmistress, therefore, is to charge any unapproved or illegal fees, or charging fees already exempted under the free SHS policy. Government will make sure of this, and sanction any school head who flouts this directive,” he said.

The President continued, “We have a sacred duty to our children, and to the generations beyond, in ensuring that, irrespective of their circumstances, their right to an education is preserved.”

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, 17th February 2018, when he attended the 60th anniversary celebration of Pope John Senior High School and Minor Seminary, in Koforidua, in the Eastern Region.

Addressing a gathering of staff, students and alumni of the school, the President indicated that a government may not be able to make every citizen rich, but with political will and responsible leadership, a government can help create a society of opportunities and empowerment for every citizen.

“I know no better way to do so but through access to education. Any country, that aims to transform itself into a modern productive player in the global marketplace, must get its educational policies right,” the President said.

He noted that citizens can only make informed choices if they are empowered with the capacity to make those choices.

Education, he added, is a key to human development, transforming a country, widening life's options for individuals and society as a whole, and is a tool for the development of the nation and of a healthy democracy.

It is for this reason, the President stressed, that on 12th September 2017, he launched the Free Senior High School policy.

“It is public knowledge now that, prior to the launch of the Free SHS policy, our children were falling out of the educational system at every stage in alarming numbers. Free SHS has enabled 90,000 more students gain access to Senior High School education in 2017, than in 2016,” the President indicated.

Without the implementation of this policy, he explained that the spectre of 90,000 young men and women, without any employable skills, and thrown onto the streets, would have further entrenched a future of hopelessness for Ghana’s youth.

Addressing the teething challenges confronting the Free SHS policy, the President told the gathering that procurement processes are currently on-going for the award of contracts for the provision of some 69,500 mono desks, 13,100 bunk beds, furniture for dining halls, staff rooms of teachers, computer laboratories, and the provision of marker boards for classrooms.

“Again, funding has been secured for the expansion and upgrading of facilities in 75 Senior High Schools across the country, with construction works on the existing Community Day Schools ongoing.

Government, beginning this year, will also upgrade 42 Senior High Schools into model school status,” he said.