The Deputy Minister of Education in charge of secondary education, Dr.Yaw Osei Adutwum, says the implementation of the Free Senior High School Education policy will break the cycle of poverty in the country.
Ghana has reduced poverty levels by half between 1991 and 2014. But it estimated that more than 2.8million Ghanaians representing 8.5% of the population are living in extreme poverty, according to the Ghana Statistical Service’s seventh living standard survey. The vast number live below the global poverty line of $1.9 spending a day.
However, according to the Deputy Education Minister, the Free SHS policy being implemented by the Akufo-Addo-led government is aimed at ending the cycle of poverty in the country.
“We are waging a war against poverty through education; if you do well in education then it means you are part of that army who are waging that war against poverty. We cannot sit in Africa and they refer to us as poor and coming from deprived background, some people even insult us because we are Africans. We have a rare opportunity at this time in the history of the World and in the history of Africa to use education to break the cycle of poverty that has bedevilled Africa for too long, and the students are the army that are going to fight that war. That is why I’m encouraging them to take their education seriously to break the cycle of poverty in their families, break the cycle of poverty in Ghana and Africa,” he postulated.
He said Ghana has over the years wasted much of its human resources due to financial barrier which prevented many children from accessing secondary education and the Free SHS Policy is bridging the gab.
“If only 50% of your students can go to Senior High School, you are not going to transform your country. That is why it is the goal of the president that every single child gets the opportunity for secondary education …Free SHS is here to help in the transformation of the country. You cannot talk about the development of a nation if your gross tertiary enrollment ratio is 16.9% as we have in Ghana”.
Dr.Yaw Osei Adutwum said this in Koforidua on the sidelines of a stakeholder’s forum on Free SHS organized by Voluntary Partnerships for West Africa, VPWA, an NGO.
The NGO made known outcome of research it commissioned on the Free SHS policy implementation. The research conducted in a total of 37 SHSs in Eastern and Ashanti Regions revealed delays in release of funds, inadequate infrastructure, increased workload of teachers, and delay in food supplies and difficulty in controlling the large number of students, as major challenges identified.
The NGO also revealed that Free SHS Policy has led to increase in enrollment by 50%. The findings also revealed that the majority of the beneficiaries in Ashanti region are boys whereas, in the Eastern region, majority are girls.
Evans Hokey, Programs Officer for the NGO told Kasapa News, the aim of the research was to generate reliable, accurate and valid evidence which will first of all be used to guide the implementation of the Free SHS policy and Secondly advocate for higher spending on educational needs.
He called on government to facilitate measures aimed at addressing challenges of the Free SHS policy to ensure that the policy achieves its intended objective.