President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Wednesday said that Ghana needs a broader conversation on education and national development.
Responding to calls for the review of the Free Senior High School (FSHS) education policy, he said the government was open to broader nationwide review of the Policy.
“One of the things people are calling for is, and some say the government has to organise itself to respond to it… they talk about reviewing SHS, I think we should have a broader conversation about the incidence of education on our national development and therefore, on our budgetary and public sector contributions to national education.”
Addressing the leadership of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) at the Jubilee House, Accra, the President said though sections of the society felt that education should be what a parent can afford, the benefits of the FSHS policy far outweighed that thinking.
“Already there are powerful forces who are against the policy, who insist education should be what your parents can afford. I am of a different view because it (Free Senior High School) is a public good and it’s benefit for the nation and the society are obvious.”
President Akufo-Addo said conversation on the review of the FSHS policy must look at funding, availability of money, access and other ingredients that must work for the good of the Ghanaian.
“How much money is the society prepared to devote to education and all its various ramifications, the feeding of children, we are talking about allowances for nurses and for teachers, the level of monies that are devoted to public scholarships, and all of this should form part and parcel of that discussion.”
“Already we spend considerable amount of money on education in considerable terms, higher than virtually all the countries on the continent, but nevertheless, it is still inadequate.
“I think we should have a broader conversation on Free SHS,” he said, adding that the education ministry was critically looking at the issues to inform policy direction on the at the matter.
Mr Dennis Appiah Larbi, NUGS President, thanked the President Akufo-Addo for the “tremendous” support the union had received from his administration over the years.
He commended the government for the various interventions to improve the quality of education in the country, particularly the no guarantor policy on student loans, which he said was a “game changer” that had created “a huge appeal and enthusiasm amongst people who want to go to tertiary institutions.”
The NUGS President however urged that the Government find sustainable ways to finance the policy to enable more Ghanaians fund their tertiary education.
He also pleaded with the government to urgently address the challenges with the school feeding programme, scholarship grants, the payment of nurses’ training allowances and the infrastructural deficits in the basic school system.
Source: Ghana News Agency