The Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Education Service, Rev. Jonathan Bettey has said that under the Free SHS policy, students would not pay for their secondary education for three years only, therefore, those who repeat their class would have to bear the cost themselves in the final year.
He pointed out that since the duration of SHS was three years, any student who spent more than those number of years in school would not be covered for any additional years.
Rev. Bettey explained further that students who would repeated Form One this academic would also not be covered by the new policy, adding that “ the scholarship only covers JHS graduates who will enrol in public senior high schools this year.
When the Graphic Youth World interviewed a number of JHS graduates who would be the first beneficiaries of the policy, they lauded the initiative and said they were fully prepared to study hard to enjoy the full scholarship for their secondary education.
The students said since the scholarship would reduce the financial burden on their parents, they would work hard to attain greater heights in their education.
Master Prince Baah said the policy would give so much comfort and peace to a lot of students who are sent home regularly for their fees.
“ I am very excited about this because some students are brilliant and would be placed in well endowed schools but in the past they would not have been able to pursue their education because of financial difficulties,” he said.
Master Baah said the policy, to a large extent, would bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in the society since students who are from poor homes would have the opportunity to attend SHS and build a future for themselves.\Master Albert Akron Gyamera-Owusu also said the policy was just another turning point for the educational system, adding that “it will help improve on the quality of education in Ghana in the sense that every student will try to study hard to avoid being repeated in order not to lose the scholarship.”
He pointed out that he was very excited that the policy would cater for both technical, agriculture and vocational students who were often not given so much attention.
Miss Sarah Adjei also expressed her excitement and gratitude to the government for the policy, adding that it would bring relief to parents who struggle to pay their children’s fees.
On her part, Mrs Naomi Baah, a parent who also spoke about the free SHS policy said her child was about to start SHS so she would use the money she had saved for his education to cater for the older sibling who had gained admission to the university.
Ms Patience Gyeabour, another parent, said it was very refreshing for her since the financial burden of her son who was yet to write the BECE had been already taken off her shoulders.
“I don’t think the quality of SHS education would be negatively affected. It will rather help students study hard to further their education to a higher level,” she added.
Ms Gyeabour, however, expressed the hope that the government would provide the needed infrastructure for schools and motivate teachers well to make the policy successful.