The Government of Ghana in its effort to afford all qualified students access to Senior High School education begun the implementation of the free Senior High School program in September 2017.
The government released GH¢280 million out of the GH¢486 million required for the flagship program to commence.
iWatch Africa survey of the program’s impact in the lives of the beneficiaries has revealed a strong support for the program among parents and students.
Below is a summary of schools visited by our regional correspondents;
Visit to Ashaiman Senior High School
The free SHS program is ongoing in Ashaiman Senior High in the Ashaiman district. Students expressed great joy for the introduction of the free SHS program. In some of their submissions they stated that the program will help students who hitherto couldn’t have continued their education after completing Junior High School due to financial constraints.
Madam Margaret Hammond, a parent also expressed her delight and gratefulness to the government for the free SHS policy which has brought her a huge financial relief so far as her ward’s education is concerned.
Visit to Aggrey Memorial Senior High School
Mrs. Lydia Bagya, whose ward Nadia Amartei Fio got an admission to Aggrey Memorial Senior High school stated that, she is very much excited about the free SHS because she did not pay schools fees or buy a school uniform for her daughter.
Most parents confirmed they are not paying school fees and they feel a burden has been lifted of them. Some of them kept hailing the President for the initiative.
Visit to Ghana National Senior High School, Cape Coast
Mr. Mawuto Wayem, whose ward Comfort Wayem got placement in Ghana National Senior High School to read General Arts also stated that so far the free education is running smoothly.
According to Mr. Wayem, the program has benefited him because he doesn’t get to pay his ward’s school fees; meaning he gets to save his money.
He further argued that the free SHS policy would be quality because of the aggregates they are accepting, insisting that it will challenge students to learn well.
The major challenge facing the free SHS program which many have voiced concern has to do with sustainability of the program and a clear guideline from the government as to where it will find money to fund the program moving forward.
The free secondary education implies the absorption of all approved fees currently charged to students in public Senior High Schools by the government.
Amanda Okpara, iWatch Africa Central Region Correspondent and Andrews Adih, our Greater-Accra Regional Correspondent filed this report. (Gideon Sarpong edited and contributed to it.)