A total of 180,000 pupils who sat for this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) will be enrolled onto the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said. This year’s intake, President Akufo-Addo said, would be double of last academic year’s 90,000 young boys and girls who benefited from the maiden edition.

This is the good news which emerged from the ruling New Patriotic Party’s delegates conference at Koforidua last weekend, as captured by our correspondent, David Kodjo.

Sequel to this was the limit of the recruitment of more than 8,000 teachers, to match up with the students. Another heartwarming development!

It is no gain saying the fact that education is the key to national development, for it is by it that the citizenry would not be mere onlookers or spectators, but be active participants in national discourse and better the lot of the people. It is again through education that people could be sensitised to such issues as environmental degradation, sanitation and its effects, the need to live in peace with each other, tolerance of each other’s views- be they political, economic or religious, and the need to eschew extremism, and bigotry, all to ensure the peace and stability of the country.

It is yet again by education that Ghana can raise its voice in the comity of nations through its highly qualified diplomats and technocrats, military and legal personnel.

In the light of the above, the Times dares say, we cannot and should not toy with education. This is the more reason why we are happy with the steps the ruling NPP government is taking with education, to ensure the best of standards for the country.

In the same vein, the Times believes that standards and quality should not be compromised, in this endeavour. The necessary logistics must be made available to the schools, to ensure smooth teaching and learning, while school environments must be made serene enough to attract both the teachers, students and pupils, to stay in them, for the good of themselves and the country in general.

While we are at it, we must not forget the welfare of the teacher, who still remains the fulcrum around which the education enterprise revolves. We wishes to remind the state, that the teacher is the shaper of the mind of the young ones who would grow to in turn run the country and take it to the heights it deserves. So teachers should not at all be toyed with. Whatever is due them must be given them, and in the right proportions and at the right time.

Their voices must be heard whenever necessary, and policy makers should not subject them to humiliation and opprobrium; when they excel, they must be celebrated.

The Times again wishes to counsel the government to employ teachers who are enthusiastic to work in the rural and outlandish areas of the country. There should be equilibrium in the developmental agenda, and no part of the country should be left out of the scheme of things. Where facilities need to be put up in the rural areas, they should, and even incentives provided the teachers, all to make them give of their best, as required of them.

The students and pupils must also be advised to stick to their books, to assure themselves, brighter prospects in future. They must be made aware that there is much more life ahead of them, and that success could come away, only if they take advantage of the opportunities being granted them today.

Lastly parents must play their part to ensure the success of the whole scheme. Free education, yes, but that does not divest parents of their duties and commitment to their children and wards. They must therefore complement government in all its moves, so that together, we all shall attain the success we dream of.

The Times wishes the country the best.

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