The president of the Republic of Ghana, African of the Year, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo has expressed his elation with his brain child and policy, the Free Senior High School Education policy which he introduced in September 2017 that guarantees a minimum of senior high school education for the Ghanaian child.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “five (5) years on following the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme, which has guaranteed a minimum of Senior High School education for 1.6 million Ghanaian children, I want to state, without any equivocation, that I am very proud of the policy and of its results thus far.”
The President, speaking at the 70th-anniversary celebration of the Tamale Senior High School (TAMASCO) in Tamale, on Saturday, 11th December 2021, reiterated on the importance of education to the development of Africa and why it is of utmost importance that Governments do not hesitate in investing in education.
The President is his delivery made reference to the 2020-2021 WASSCE results and how happy he is that it has finally laid to rest the argument that free senior high school education will compromise the quality of secondary cycle education.
“There were some who described Free SHS as “a waste”; some said it would “destroy our Ivy League Schools”, and some indicated that the policy was going to compromise the quality of senior high school education. None of these has happened, and I am sure they have eggs on their faces now or should have”, President Akufo-Addo stated.
He continued, “The 2021 WASSCE results of the second batch of the “Akufo-Addo graduates” shows 54.08% of students recording A1-C6 in English, as opposed to 51.6% in 2016; 65.70% recording A1-C6 in Integrated Science in 2021, as opposed to 48.35% in 2016; 54.11% recording A1-C6 in Mathematics, as compared to 33.12% in 2016; and 66.03% recording A1-C6 in Social Studies, as compared to 54.55% in 2016. Lest we forget, the 2021 batch of students were the pioneers of the double-track system, which elicited a lot of vilification and unfounded criticism on its introduction.”
The president in expanding his argument for free SHS made reference to the increase in the percentage of students of Tamale Senior High School who have gained qualification to pursue tertiary education.
“In 2015, it was 29.2%; in 2016, it was 31.4%; in 2017, it was 34.7%; in 2018, it was 31.3%; in 2019, it was 46.3%; and in 2021, it was 45.8%. Surely, Chairperson, there can no longer be any controversy about the validity of the Free SHS policy and its consequential measures. It is working,” he said.
The President, thus, appealed to all Ghanaians to “forgo partisan, parochial considerations, which confer little benefit, and all agree that Free SHS has to be a part of our national educational architecture, for, at least, a generation, if not forever. Our nation will clearly be empowered and enriched”.