Mahama’s free SHS ready to take off – Finance Minister


Finance Minister, Seth Terkper has stated emphatically that promises by President John Mahama to make senior high education in Ghana progressively free for the 2015/2016 academic year are set to roll out next year.

The issue of free senior high education has been a subject of heated debate for years, with the opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo mounting a strong defence for the policy, in spite of successive government’s staggering commitment to free basic education.

Nonetheless, President Mahama in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament in 2014 bought into the idea but noted it could only be possible if it is made progressively.

Today, presenting the budget statement for the 2015 financial year, Finance Minister Seth Terkper intimidated that government is ready to implement the policy starting from 2015. The policy is aimed at making education quality, equitable accessible and affordable, he pointed out.

“The pledge of the president during the 2014 State of the Nation Address to this august house, to implement progressively free secondary education beginning 2015 is ready for take-off.

“The agreed roadmap beginning with day students has been adequately catered for in this budget.”

As a result, government is on course with the construction of 200 senior high schools across the country, he said.

Already about 50 of such schools are at various stages of completion, Mr. Terkper claimed, adding that the 2015 budget has made provisions for the construction of additional 50 schools.

According to the Finance Minister, funding has so far been secured for 123 out of the 200 promised SHS, stressing that government remains confident of meeting its target for 2016.

Also additional 23 new Senior High Schools, he said, would be constructed under the World Bank’s Supported Secondary Education Improvement project.  Under the project some 125 existing schools are receiving facility upgrades, 125 head teachers undergoing leadership and management training. A scholarship package for teachers has also been implemented.

Mr. Terkper also announced that Cabinet has also approved the draft bill for a public university in the Eastern Region in line with government’s commitment to establish at least one university in each region.

Technical and vocational education is also being rebranded to make it more attractive, he said.

  Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com| Isaac Essel | isaac.essel@myjoyonline.com | twitter @isaacessel

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