Free SHS, here to stay – President Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that the government would find imaginative ways to efficiently manage the increasing senior high school (SHS) admissions due to the introduction of the fee-free policy,
The number of student beneficiaries is expected to double to 180,000, this coming academic year.
The intervention has brought huge relief to parents and created an opportunity for every Ghanaian child to receive SHS education.
President Akufo-Addo, addressing the chiefs and people Bongo as part of his official working visit to the Upper East Region, said “we are fulfilling our promise, and we are making it clear that SHS education is free, and is here to stay in Ghana forever and ever,”.
He said the government was eager to ensure that there was quality and that was why 8,000 more teachers would be employed.
He had earlier inspected ongoing construction works on one of government’s flagship programmes – one-village, one-dam, and performed the ceremony to signal the start of work on the Bongo-Balungu-Namoo-Zorko road.
Accompanying him, were the Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister for Special Development Initiatives, Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, Minister for Water and Sanitation, Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda, the regional Minister, Mr Rockson Ayine Bukari, Mr Joseph Dindiok Kpemka, Deputy Attorney General and Minister for Justice, and other government officials.
President Akufo-Addo said “it is our intention that Bongo alone will get 10 dams this year, 570 are been built, across the three northern regions, and the Bongo Constituency alone is going to get ten out of the 570”.
He also expressed excitement that “at long last”, the Bongo-Balungu-Namoo road had been awarded on contract.
The President said the road would be completed within one year, and emphasized that “this is not some election year machinery of a sort to come and deceive you – that is not what I am doing”.
“We are building the road to make sure it is better.”
Touching on the “Planting for Food and Jobs” (PFJ) programme, he said about 30,000 farmers in the region had benefited from the distribution of improved seedling, subsidized fertilizers and extension service support. He said they had targeted to increase the number of farmers under the programme, from 200,000 to 500,000, this year.
President Akufo-Addo added that “If we are able to complete the dams and ensure that there is water for the farmers, for the first time in the history of our country, we are going to have all year farming and you are going to see the difference in the northern regions of our country”.
This, he said, would make a difference in the lives of farmers – their incomes and food production levels, adding, “We have a programme for the development and transformation of Ghana, those who want to see, can see what is going on.”
Mrs. Koomson said the one-village one-dam was one of the priority areas under the Implementation of Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP) – an innovative development approach through which government had allocated the cedi equivalent of one million dollars to each of the 275 constituencies for investment in priority infrastructure projects.
She said the IPEP would facilitate the construction of many small dams and dugouts across the three regions, whose main economic activity was farming but commonly known to experience long months of dry season, every year.
“The one-village, the one-dam initiative will therefore see a multipurpose water storage facility to be constructed in valleys with close proximity to rivers or streams, and with the capacity to capture rain water during raining seasons,” she added.
Bonaba Baba Salifu Aleemyarum, Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, applauded the President for the various interventions and programmes that were helping to transform the lives of the people.