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General News of Monday, 11 September 2017

Source: Ghanaian Observer

Ghana youth for change lauds Akufo-Addo over free SHS

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Ghana Youth for Change and Development has commended government for relentlessly honoring its campaign promise of commencing the free Senior High School (SHS) program, further charging government to create a seamless transition from Junior High School to Senior High School.

The relevance of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), the group indicated, cannot be sustained in the current educational set up since thousands of pupils are thrown into the streets by the current set-up.

“We cannot be making available free education at Senior High level whiles thousands at the Junior High School level are denied continuous education each year”, President of the group, Mr Fred Quainoo indicated.

Mr Fred Quainoo in a statement issued to this paper over the weekend said the efforts the Akufo-Addo government is putting into the fee SHS project is a landmark achievement in the annals of Ghana’s history in bridging the educational gap between all households.

“No child should be denied their right to education because of poverty. We believe in the assertion by Kofi Annan that ‘Education is a human right with immense power to transform’. On its foundation rest the cornerstone of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development”, he stated.

Mr Quainoo also mentioned that as indicated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reinforced in the Dakar Framework for Action and in the Sustainable Development Agenda adopted by the United Nations (UN), countries all over the world have recognized that costs, either direct or indirect, hinders education hence the group’s enthusiasm to the introduction of Free Secondary Education in the country.

“We believe this will have positive impact on the enrolment as an estimated 120,000 qualified students, who would have hitherto been denied education, will now have free access to education”, he added.

He however cautioned that in spite of free education, parents still have a role to play in their children’s education by supporting their wards where government falls short and thus encouraged government to find a dedicated source of funding for the Free Education Programme and also create a legal backing through parliament for the policy.

“The parliamentary enactment will reinforce Article 25(1)(b) of Ghana’s constitution which states ‘secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education”, he maintained.

The parliamentary enactment backing the policy will create legal guarantee for free secondary programme irrespective of the government in power.

He believes these are exciting times to be Ghanaian, quoting Aristotle who said “the roots of education are bitter but the fruit is sweet”, and warned saboteurs to “embrace the free education programme and make it succeed”.

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