In the presence of the Vice President of the Republic, Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia; the Minister for Education, Hon. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, MP; Minister of State for Education, Prof. Kwesi Yankah; and officials from the Ministry of Education, President Akufo-Addo noted that the coming into effect of the Free SHS policy is vital for the transformation of the Ghanaian economy
According to President Akufo-Addo, the first country in the world, in modern times, to institute a system of free public secondary education was the United States of America.
“They did this a century ago, at a time when their level of development was not very much more than ours. I hope that all of us in Ghana can see the connection between that event and where America is today, as the economic power of the world,” the President said.
Whilst acknowledging that in every new initiative, there would be “wrinkles and glitches”, President Akufo-Addo appealed for the unalloyed support of all Ghanaians for the policy, urging that the Free SHS policy “is important not because a political party has made it its mantra, and that the promise it made is being fulfilled, but because it goes to the heart of what we need to do to get our country going.”
The President continued, “Our country has abundance of talent and creativity, and of people who have all kinds of contribution to make to the development of our society. What we need to do is to provide them the opportunity to express themselves. And if that opportunity is provided, I think, very rapidly, we will see the transformation that all of us want to see in Ghana.”
President Akufo-Addo thanked the Minister for Education, and officials of the Ministry for the hardwork and determination is bringing to fruition the Free SHS policy.
The design highlights an open book, on which is suspended a sketch of two delighted school children leaping in jubilation. Underneath the symbol are three words: Access, Equity, and Quality boldly inscribed.
The Open Book, represents learning that generates hope and optimism for a prosperous Ghana. The central symbol portrays two children emerging from a pleasurable learning experience, as they spontaneously explode in joy. They are beneficiaries of a policy that lifts the total burden of fees from parents; be it fees for books, meals, use of lab, boarding, or school uniform. These and others are to be enjoyed free of any costs to guardians.
The two then have a reason to leap in delight; but their animated mood also represents optimism for a brighter tomorrow.
The highlighted themes of Access, Equity and Quality underline the principles that drive the policy.
Access: The policy aims at widening access to senior high school education.
Equity: This is a fundamental driver in any social intervention programme. Poverty, gender, deprivation, etc. should no longer be barriers to education. The Government is eager to ensure a fair and just society where there are equal opportunities for all, irrespective of family circumstances.
Quality: The expected expansion of access to education can be achieved, without the need to compromise the quality of education. The package comes with qualitative instructional material, improvement in school infrastructure, as well as capacity building and teacher motivation.
The Open Book stands for Learning that is made accessible, so others can share: it is the candle that ignites hope for future generations, and enables students from diverse backgrounds to study towards transforming lives and uplifting their communities.
The color code, Red, Gold and Green, with black in parts, represents Ghana’s national identity.
The free SHS policy adds value to prevailing free primary and junior high school policies, to make pre-tertiary education a totally free undertaking that should eventually position Ghana to enhance the quality of its human capital to boost national development.