The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says his government is investing heavily in the provision of educational infrastructure in senior high schools (SHS) across the country, particularly in those running the double track system.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the implementation of the Free SHS policy “has meant an increase in the number of children accessing SHS education, for the simple reason that children, who would otherwise have stayed home or gone on, prematurely, onto the labour market, because of the financial barriers to senior high school education, now have no reason to do so.”
With 1.2 million children currently enrolled in senior high schools across the country, the highest of such enrolment in Ghana’s history, the President explained that the expansion in access, automatically, brought with it a problem of infrastructure.
Speaking at the 68th Speech and Prize-Giving Day of Opoku Ware School, on Saturday, President Akufo-Addo said that the problem of addressing the infrastructure deficit “was an excellent and exciting one, because more children wanting to go to school beyond Junior High School (JHS) was good news.”
He continued, “Our position is that every child who qualifies to be in SHS must be given the opportunity to do so.”
The provision of access to 1.2 million children, he said, has entailed innovation in the usage of the resources available, and it is out of this that the idea of the double track system was born, a system that has worked well in many other jurisdictions.
By implementing the double track system, President Akufo-Addo said Government has been able to ensure the best possible use of the space and assets available in schools, throughout the year.
“Schools, that operate the double track system, have increased their SHS 1 intake by up to 50 per cent of their usual capacity. This has given many young students a better opportunity to enter our elite schools, such as Opoku Ware, than was previously the case,” he added.
Whilst acknowledging that the implementation of the double track system was not going to be an easy path, the President said Government was addressing the deficit in infrastructure.
“We are investing heavily in infrastructure, particularly in our double track schools. Here at Opoku Ware School, for example, Government has already completed the construction of a twelve-unit classroom block, which I understand is currently in use, together with the provision of 1,500 sets of tables and chairs. Government is constructing a new four-storey dormitory block, work on which is progressing steadily. In total, 962 structures are being constructed in schools across the country,” he said.
Furthermore, from this week, President Akufo-Addo revealed that every district, municipal and metropolitan directorate of education will receive a pick-up vehicle, something which they have not had since 2003.
This, he said, will facilitate their work of supervision, and help deliver quality education.
“I assure all of you that Government will deal with the issues as they arise, and ensure that we continue to invest in the education and skills training of our young people, as the investment represent the best hope for the social and economic future of our country,” the President added.
BY TIMES REPORTER