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General News of Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Free SHS under Mahama was focused on quality – Naana Opoku-Agyemang

Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang says the much talked about Free SHS was first introduced to Ghanaians by the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama administration which focused on improving learning outcomes of students.

She argued that the past NDC administration, under which she served as the Minister for Education, invested heavily in expanding infrastructure which is very key to providing quality education.

Naana Opoku-Agyemang, who is running mate to the NDC flagbearer, noted that the NDC administration at the time was worried about rolling out a “full scale” approach to the free SHS, therefore, it was very prudent in waiving fees to students who actually needed the necessary support.

Prof Opoku-Agyemang, who spoke to Citi TV on Monday, said: “Our approach was to look at the needy students, the students who would otherwise not go [to school]. Our concept was to reach the vulnerable, to bring the school as close to the doorstep of the learners as possible and to make sure that those schools were of high quality. That is why we put in the labs, that is why we stocked the libraries, that is why we set up proper offices for the headmasters and teachers. They were all very important.”

She continued: “Our position on free SHS has been very clear. We started the progressively free [education]… We were doing progressively free because to operate it on a full scale at once was going to be highly problematic… We want them to come and learn, but they need the classroom, the laboratories and so on.”

Naana Opoku-Agyemang, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast further disclosed that under the NDC administration led by John Dramani Mahama, “We expanded 125 schools. We have the list and all the items we put there. Washrooms, labs, dining and so on. We also picked another 175 for what we call the quality improvement…We started [free SHS], but we didn’t think that we should just go ahead and do en masse.”

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