President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has encouraged students who could not enjoy the government’s free senior high school policy because they failed in their Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) to re-sit.
About 36,000 students who failed in either English or Mathematics were deemed unqualified to pursue free education under the policy for the 2017/18 academic year.
Rewriting the examination papers is the surest way they could stage a comeback to benefit from the much-touted policy which became operational on Monday and was launched a day after.
Over 400,000 students are expected to receive a three-year government’s scholarship package which GHc486 million has been earmarked for the first year of the implementation of the Free SHS Policy.
“This year, the number of students, who could not have access to senior high school, has dropped to 36,000, not because of the cost of high fees, but because, unfortunately, they could not attain the requisite qualification mark,” President Akufo-Addo revealed on Tuesday when he launched the policy at the West Africa Senior School.
All hope was not lost for the failed candidates, the president explained, “the policy enables this much-reduced number to re-sit the BECE, and, hopefully, join the system of further education”.
He noted that cost has over the years been one of the biggest obstacles denying children access to secondary education, which has been removed by the policy. “The cost of providing free secondary school education will be cheaper than the cost of the alternative of an uneducated and unskilled workforce that has the capacity to retard our development. Leadership is about choices – I have chosen to invest in the future of our youth and of our country.
“We have decided to use the proceeds from our natural resources to help educate the population to drive our economic transformation. Instead of the revenues from our mineral and oil resources ending up in the hands of a few people, the most equitable and progressive way of using these revenues is to educate and empower our population to strengthen our nation.
“In so doing, we would be on the way to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal no. 4, which calls for inclusive and equitable education, and the promotion of lifelong opportunities for all. As Co-Chair of the Advocacy Group of Eminent Persons of the SDGs, their implementation is a matter of the highest public priority for me.”