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President Akufo-Addo Calls for an End to Debates on Free SHS

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President Akufo-Addo thinks that arguments about the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) initiative should cease.

His reason is that the success of the Free SHS initiative “has answered its critics” and that the focus should simply concentrate on finding ways to improve it.

The President made the remarks while delivering the State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.

“I am particularly glad that the fears about lowering of standards have been allayed. Refreshingly, we witnessed, through the 2023 batch of Free SHS students, the best WASSCE results in a decade,” President Akufo-Addo said, adding “Mr Speaker, there is more to education than Free SHS, and Government has been paying equal attention to all the other sectors. Kindergarten, Primary School and Junior High School must work together to give a solid foundation, and strengthen the Free SHS policy.”

For him, the implementation of various programmes such as Capitation Grant, Feeding Grants to Special Schools, BECE registration for pupils in public Junior High Schools, amongst others, have significantly increased access to education at the basic level.

In addition, he said, “the focus of the comprehensive reforms within the sector has been to improve learning outcomes and ensure every child that goes through our education system is equipped with literacy and numeracy skills by the time they exit primary six (6).”

He said a National Standardized Test for numeracy and reading skills is now being conducted at primary four, pointing out that “unfortunately, quite a number of children still manage to slip out of the net, and miss going to school altogether or drop out at primary school.”

President Akufo-Addo explained that the Ministry of Education partnered with key development allies to launch an innovative financing programme called the Ghana Educational Outcome Project (GEOP) to provide educational support to 72,000 out-of-school children, helping them access complementary education and transition into formal schools.

That, he said, 17,340 out-of-school children have been taken through the programme and mainstreamed into formal schools in 2023, saying “this programme has worked so well it won the GOVTECH PRIZE award in February 2024, at the World Government Summit held in Dubai.”

For him, “Government has remained committed to improving the teaching and learning of STEM education at the pre-tertiary level,” stressing that “key interventions have included increasing our ability to produce STEM professionals, and also meeting 21st century skills.”

additional source : graphic news