Free SHS ready by 2016

The Ministry of Education has announced government’s promise of the Progressively Free Secondary Education Program set ready for the 2015/16 academic year.

“I am happy to disclose that, Government through this Ministry will commence the implementation of Progressively Free Secondary Education Program from the 2015/16 academic year with an estimated number of 367,565 Day students standing to benefit,” the sector Minister announced.

The Education Minister, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang said an advisory committee has been constituted to guide the Ministry in the implementation of the program, which is expected to kick-start in September, 2015.

She said government will continue to target beneficiaries for efficiency and effectiveness while rolling out the programme gradually in order to harness it most effectively.

The sector Minister said this when she took her turn at the meet the press in Accra.

The Minister said Ghana made allocations for funding and sought support from the World Bank to provide 200 community day Senior High Schools.

“The first phase of the 50 community day SHS program involving funding by government, which was started in 2014, is at various stages of completion. The second phase of 50 schools has been awarded for completion within 15 months,” she added.

Prof. Nana Opoku-Agyemang said, in addition, under the World Bank component, progress made include the construction of 23 new schools with staff and head masters bungalows, facilities improvement for 50 existing schools, quality improvement for 125 existing schools and provision of scholarships for 10,400 students.

She noted that, to date, contracts for construction works have been awarded, 2,300 have been awarded scholarships to cover all ancillary costs, thus bringing the commencement of the progressively free Senior High School education forward by four months.

The Sector Minister revealed that government’s promise of free shoes for the needy in the public primary school has been redeemed.

Professor Nana Opoku Agyemang said that procurement process for the locally made good leather shoes has been completed and distribution will commence soon.

Professor Nana Opoku Agyemang added that Ministry is currently undertaking various procurement processes for 500,000 school uniforms.

Additionally, 15 million exercise books will also be procured for distribution to 36,685 basic schools.

She added that At the Basic Education level, Government continued to eliminate Schools under trees.

Under the program of eliminating schools under trees, the sector Minister noted that a total of 1,614 schools out of the 2,578 projects have been completed and handed over.

According to her, the plan is to complete the remaining 964 schools under trees projects within the medium term.

“The USAID also supported Government in constructing 159 Projects include District Education Offices, Sanitary Blocks, Kindergarten, Primary and JHS Classroom Blocks. 158 of these projects have been completed,” she added.

The Minister stated that at the Basic level, the thrust of policy remains the provision of equitable access to good-quality child-friendly universal basic education, by improving opportunities for all children in the first cycle of education at Kindergarten, Primary and Junior High School levels.

She added that in 2013/14 the government released the capitation grant and paid subsidy for Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) for 423,000 final year pupils in JHS.

In addition, government paid subsidies to cover a total of 444,100 registered students for the 2013/14 academic years and a total of 444,100 for the 2014 / 15 academic year, recording an increase of 21,100.

The sector Minister intimated that in support of government’s Secondary Education Strategy to improve access with equity in under-served districts while improving quality in existing Senior High Schools.

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