According to President Akufo-Addo, “Government is collaborating with various partners to implement major programmes and interventions such as the Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP), the expansion of physical infrastructure, and free supply of core subject text books to students.”
Central, too, to the prospects of the Free SHS policy, the President added, is the teacher.
“A well-trained, confident and contented teacher is essential in the delivery of quality education. If we are to succeed as a nation, and if we accept that education is central to national development, then it is clear that quality teacher training is vital to our nation’s development,” he said.
Government, the President indicated, is committed to teacher professional development through schemes such as Transforming Teacher Education and Learning (T-TEL), at a cost of 17 million pounds sterling.
T-Tel is a four-year Government of Ghana programme supported by the UK’s Department for International Department (DFID). It seeks to transform the delivery of pre-service teacher education in Ghana, by improving the quality of teacher education and learning through support to all public Colleges of Education from 2014 to 2018. The programme will enhance quality education delivery in the Colleges of Education, with government looking forward to its continuous implementation after 2018.
“The restoration of the teacher trainee allowance, which also begins today, is part of the comprehensive policy of engendering the production of quality teachers,” the President added.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Tuesday, 12th September, 2017, when he launched the Free SHS policy at the West Africa Senior High School.
Upgrading of infrastructure
As was done under the administration of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, President Akufo-Addo indicated that government intends to pursue the policy of upgrading 42 existing senior high schools to model schools, as was done in the case of West Africa Senior High School.
This, he said, is an important step towards delivery of quality education.
“Technical and vocational skills are crucial to our industrialisation agenda, and we are committed to making them attractive to young people. The Free SHS policy will cover pupils who gain admission to technical, vocational and agricultural institutions,” he said.
With technical and vocational education delivery in Ghana currently fragmented under 18 different Ministries, each with different enabling Acts and mandates, President Akufo-Addo stated that work has commenced to align all public TVET institutions under the Ministry of Education to provide effective policy direction and co-ordination in skills development.
Government, he added, has also reserved 30% of places in the top 82 senior high schools to students from basic public schools, as, currently, these top schools are almost wholly populated by students from junior high private schools with good performance at the BECE, relative to the basic public schools.
“Under the Free SHS policy, we will ensure that students from basic public schools have equal opportunity to enrol in any of the top senior high schools in the country,” he said.
The President continued, “We believe this is crucial in ensuring that we do not inadvertently encourage a permanent class divide, where a child from a background, whose parents are unable to afford junior high private school education, is pre-destined to be excluded from the top senior high schools in the country. That is unconscionable, and potentially dangerous for social cohesion.”