Godwill Arthur-Mensah/Kwamina Tandoh, GNA
Accra, Nov. 30, GNA - Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education, on Thursday said the Government has strictly followed the guidelines issued for the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy rolled out in September this year.
He said the Free SHS Policy was to address issues including removal of cost barriers, improvement in quality educational infrastructure, and equity and employable skills development, which government was on course to achieving.
He said the removal of the cost barrier meant that government decided to offer education scholarship to every candidate that wrote the BECE, passed, placed, printed out the form and enrolled for a three-year period.
Dr Prempeh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South, said this at the Meet-the-Press Series in Accra to address concerns raised by the public regarding the implementation of the Free SHS Policy and other education related issues.
He said supplementary readers, text books, core literature books, exercise and note books had been supplied to students as outlined in the policy guide.
Dr Prempeh said government had provided incentives to teachers so that they could offer extra tutorials to the students.
He said the Computerised School Placement System placed 30 per cent of candidates from less endowed junior high schools into well-endowed SHSs.
He said before rolling out the Policy, the Government undertook extensive consultations with key stakeholders such as head teachers, bursars, school accountants, suppliers and district directors of education as well as those at the top echelon of the education ladder for their inputs.
The Minister noted that after the consultations, it established an Implementation Committee, which included representatives from the Ministry of Information, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, National Security, Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools, and teacher unions who worked out the Implementation Document.
He said the Ministry established the Free SHS Secretariat and Cabinet decided to place it at the Office of the Presidency since it was a special policy to ensure full implementation.
Dr Prempeh said the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service were managing the implementation of the policy on behalf of the Presidency.
He said government absorbed the recurrent items, feeding fees, core text books, school uniforms, house dress and PE kits among other fees while continuing students also enjoyed subsidies on their fees and teachers incentives.
He said government paid GHȼ648.00 for each day student and GHȼ1,104.00 for each boarding student while each technical student had GHȼ748.00 being paid for day students and GHȼ1,104.00 for a boarder.
To avoid congestions at the schools, he said the Ministry and GES requested all head teachers to write the number of students their schools could admit and accommodate.
In addition, he said the head of schools were also asked to compile the furniture their schools would need to ensure timely supply.