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General News of Wednesday, 24 July 2019


Free SHS: 1.3 million students expected in school this year – Napo

Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh

The Student population in Senior High Schools will be around 1.2 million after this year’s admissions, Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh has disclosed.

Speaking at the Meet The Press encounter in Accra on Wednesday, he said the figure would be some 400,000 increase from the current population of about 800,000.

“The total number of students in school as we speak is just about 800,000 and that’s two years of free SHS. By the time we finish this year’s admission, the population in our schools will be about 1.2 million.

“It means the three previous years and the current previous two years we have moved the population of our secondary schools by 43 per cent. That is more kids who otherwise were being wasted are in school,” he stated.

The government introduced the Free SHS policy in the 2017/2018 academic year, making it possible for students from the entire country to have free Senior High School education, with free meals for both boarding and day students, free boarding accommodation and free textbooks.

The policy in its first year of implementation provided over 90,000 additional teenagers an opportunity to get senior high school education and improve their opportunities for work in the future.

The government in 2018 introduced the double-track system. The move, which the Education Ministry says is expected to last for seven years, is a stopgap measure employed to accommodate the surge in enrollment under the free SHS programme.

According to the Education Minister, “it is better for the kids to be in the classroom and that’s why we introduced the double-track system that since we haven’t built enough and since the buildings take time to be constructed we cannot say that your child should wait at home.”

He said the government would deliver the free SHS to ensure that “no child is left behind” and that all first and second years would be expected to do double track.