The total number of students that will be benefiting from the free senior high school programme is expected to shoot up to 1.2 million, an increase of 400,000, after the 2019 admissions, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education, has revealed.
The 2019 admission will mean that all students – from form one to form three – will be benefiting from the programme which was commenced by the Akufo-Addo government in 2017.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, 24 July 2019, Dr Opoku Prempeh, who is also the MP for Manhyia South, said: “The total number of students in school, as we speak, is just about 800,000 and that’s two years of free SHS. By the time we finish this year’s admission, the population in our schools will be about 1.2 million.
Dr Prempeh said it would mean an increase in the population of senior high school students by 43 per cent within three years. “That is more kids who otherwise were being wasted,” he stated.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Tuesday, 12 September 2017, launched the Free Senior High School policy.
He described the programme as the means to creating a society of opportunities and empowerment for every citizen.
At a ceremony at the West Africa Senior High School (WASS), President Akufo-Addo noted that he made the Free SHS pledge “because I know that knowledge and talent are not for the rich and privileged alone, and that free education widens the gates of opportunities to every child, especially those whose talents are arrested because of poverty.”
President Akufo-Addo noted that the countries that have made rapid progress around the world put education at the heart of their development, referencing the transition to publicly-funded high school education by the United States in the mid-nineteenth century.
“It must have been a daunting prospect at the time – paying for the education of so many children, for such an extended period of time out of limited public resources, transferring a potential workforce away from immediate productivity for an investment like schooling. But the experiment paid off,” the President said.
He continued, “America set herself up for 20th-century success, creating a workforce fit for rapid economic development, which has inspired the emergence of the most powerful economy so far known to human history. Indeed, other nations, who began their lives as independent states at the same time as we did, like Singapore, Malaysia and Korea, have emulated a similar model and have also achieved great economic success. In fact, in their case, they followed Japan’s excellent example.”