Free SHS won’t destroy education – Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo has indicated that neither he nor his government has the intention of destroying the educational system in the country as a result of the Free Senior High School (FSHS) programme.

This is contrary to the impression being created in the minds of some Ghanaians, especially by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), to the effect that the implementation of the Free SHS policy which enables secondary schools students to attend school without paying tuition would affect the output of the children following the introduction of the shift (double-track) system.

Speaking at the annual Ada Asafotufiami festival over the weekend, he disclosed that “this double-track calendar system will not be applied to all senior schools but only those whose current capacity will be exceeded by the numbers of the admitted students.”

“This system will not destroy our education system, as the professional naysayers would want you to believe but on the contrary, this will reduce class sizes, increase contact hours between teachers and students and hike the number of holidays,” he emphasised.

President Akufo-Addo was quick to admit that “every bold new initiative that is rolled out will experience hitches and challenges.”

However, he said, “I am inspired by the famous Chinese adage which says a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and we have taken that first step in Ghana and we shall deal with the challenges.”

President Akufo-Addo indicated that since the launch of the FSHS programme in September 2017, the programme has provided additional 90,000 children with opportunity to benefit from secondary education and that 180,000 more children would be admitted into the schools.

Despite the existing deficit in infrastructure, he promised “we will make sure that no qualified Ghanaian child is left behind.”

“We, therefore, found a way to absorb this intake referred to it as double-intake system; first, 8,000 more teachers would be recruited; second, a double-track calendar school system would be employed for the new entrants,” he pointed out.

1D1F

President Akufo-Addo said with the implementation of the 1D1F, 36 factories are at various stages of being operationalised to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs, citing the inauguration of the Lankiani Soya Mills factory located at Asutsuare, which is currently functioning.

He, therefore, urged the Ada East and Ada West District Assemblies and the Ada Traditional Council to develop a strategic plan for the exploitation of the potential of the area to ensure that the residents benefitted from their local resources.

President Akufo-Addo revealed that government was collaborating with stakeholders for the necessary investment to be made in the Songhor Lagoon to turn it into a modern salt industry, which would create employment for myriads of people and generate the needed revenue for development.

Agriculture

With more than 50 per cent of the population engaged in agriculture and to make any meaningful change in the lives of the people, efforts must be directed at agric. Majority of the people can feel a change in their lives when we develop agric.

That, he said, is because “Ghana has the potential to feed its growing population, meet the raw material requirements of its processing industries, achieve food security and compete as a leading exporter of agric products and that was the rationale behind ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’.”

This year, he indicated that the programme is being expanded to cover 500,000 farmers from 200,000 last year and encouraged farmers in the area to participate and benefit from the programme targeted at one million farmers by 2020.

Infrastructure

Apart from that, the President indicated the government was embarking on public private partnership to attract investment in the development of both roads and railways and expressed the hope that they would be able to extend a strong rail line to link the country with its neighbouring countries.

He said the minister of roads had informed him that the roads in the area were receiving attention and work on all abandoned projects would commence again very soon.

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