About 400, 000 day students in public Senior High Schools in the country are to benefit from the free education programme, beginning September 2015, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, the Minister of Education has announced.

The move, she said was in line with the Constitutional provision which required the government to ensure progressively free secondary education to Ghanaians.

Prof Opoku-Agyemang, who disclosed this at a Meet-the-Press series in Accra yesterday, said an advisory committee had been tasked to guide the ministry in the implementation of the programme.

While ensuring a holistic realization of the programme, the minister said stakeholders’ would painstakingly select beneficiaries to ensure success.

President John Mahama on February 25, 2014, in his State-of the Nation Address, announced that his administration would implement the “Free Senior High School Education in consonance with the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

Article 25(b) of the Constitution states that: “Secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational education, shall be generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by progressive introduction of free education”.

“This roadmap will be presented to Cabinet for approval and subsequent implementation. Under the guidance of this roadmap, we can anticipate that fees for day students, will be abolished at an estimated cost of Gh¢71 million in 2015/2016 academic year,” President Mahama said.

“The Ministry of Education, following consultations with stakeholders has prepared a report on the roadmap for a progressive introduction of free secondary education in Ghana as required under the 1992 constitution,” President Mahama added.

The introduction of free secondary education, popularly referred to as “Free SHS” was a contentious issue in Ghana during the 2012 elections, with the population divided as to its implementation. While a section of the public believed that ‘Free SHS’ will enable many deprived Ghanaians to access secondary education, others expressed fears that it could affect the quality of education in secondary institution.

“We must make education a priority again. The students of this nation deserve to have the confidence that comes from knowing that the education they are receiving will adequately prepare them to navigate this competitive global workplace,” President Mahama said.

Credit: Ghanaian Times