Education Minister, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, says the decision by the Akufo-Addo-led government to spend the country’s oil revenue on “Free Senior High School (SHS) education is a better investment than anything the country can dream of.”
Speaking at the Bolgatanga SHS on Tuesday, August 13, as part of President Akufo-Addo’s two-day tour of the Upper East Region, he noted that even before the implementation of the Free SHS policy, the President ensured that the Capitation Grant for basic schools was increased from GH¢4.50 that had existed in 2009 to GH¢9.00 in 2017.
“In 2018, (President Akufo-Addo) took it further to GH¢10.00, and hopefully we will increase the capitation again. More basic schools are being fed on the hot meal basic school feeding programme than have ever existed in the country,” he said.
The Minister for Education indicated further that “school uniforms are being provided for the poor, and even females are sometimes being given something to help with their female particular problems.”
The Free SHS policy, according to the Minister, has also ensured that, for the first time since 2007, “core textbooks have been supplied to students.” In addition to that, he stated that supplementary readers have been purchased and brought to schools as library books.
“Not only that, we have recently supplied mathematics revision books to pupils, and the reason why we supplied the mathematics revision books was that, when you look at the record in WASCCE, maths is probably the worst, and thank God probably we have started seeing change,” he said.
The Minister continued, “very soon, this year, we are supplying question and answers, as model question and answers and chief examiners report to every student in the country, so that, whether there is a teacher, or there is no teacher, there is no excuse for the student not to revise and to read, and to become familiar to the questions that have been asked since 1993 when we started SHS, thanks to his Excellency.”
The introduction of “academic interventions” by the Akufo-Addo government, Dr Opoku-Prempeh said has ensured that “teachers are given something for assisting students to become better in school.”
Additionally, he indicated that “for the first time in the history of this country, day schools were given one hot meal a day, and every day school enjoys this one hot meal a day and will continue to enjoy, in so far as His Excellency the President, and His Excellency’s party is in power, the day school feeding will never change.”
As a result of these interventions, the Education Minister indicated that there is a record number of students currently in SHSs across the country.
“Like I said between 2014 and 2016, the total population in all schools in the country was about 800, 000 students. As we speak the total population in our schools is about 800,000 discounting the first years who have not yet even come in,” the Minister added.