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Ntim Fordjour lauds stakeholders support for Free SHS

BY: Samuel Duodu
A Deputy Minister of Education, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour
A Deputy Minister of Education, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour

A Deputy Minister of Education, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, has commended stakeholders in the education sector for their contributions to the successes chalked up by the Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy.

He cited the continuous increase in the pass rate of students at the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) to buttress his point about the success of the programme.

Rev. Fordjour, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Assin South, made the commendation at the maiden Public Lecture on the FSHS policy in Accra on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

The lecture, which was on the theme: "Consolidating the gains of the Free Senior High School; Protecting the Legacy for Future Generations", was organised by the Institute for Transgenerational Leaders.

Attended by a section of the public, including students, the event was also to honour President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the initiative and to wish him well on his 78th birthday.

Reviews

Rev. Fordjour said although the implementation of the FSHS programme had been successful, it had also encountered some challenges, ranging from delays in supplies to schools, accommodation issues leading to the double-track system, among others.

Notwithstanding, he said the government and for that matter the Ministry of Education, with the support of teachers, heads of schools among all other stakeholders, were working together to address the challenges associated with the programme not only to increase access and ensure equity but also to improve the quality.

He stated that since the introduction of the FSHS policy in 2017, the programme had experienced an increase in students enrolment that led to the double-track system.

That, he said, was being addressed through the provision of infrastructure in schools and the recruitment of teachers among others.

Rev. Fordjour noted that contrary to the perception that the FSHS was resisting reviews, he said there had been many reviews and the ministry would continue to listen to make the programme better.

He noted that with the implementation of every policy across the world, there were challenges, but the ministry would continue to take on board suggestions from all stakeholders so that together, "we will continue to make the FSHS policy better for all of us".

"So let us keep the conversation and the engagements going to ensure that all Ghanaian children, regardless of who they are, benefit from the programme, have access to quality education and are empowered to meaningfully contribute to the socio-economic development of the country," he added.

Rev. Fordjour noted that it was necessary to have a policy that was ever-increasing in efficiency and effectiveness and ensure that Ghana had the better of the policy.

Consolidate

The Rector of GIMPA, Prof. Samuel Kwaku Bonsu, said the FSHS policy had shown that it could be done in spite of the challenges, saying the challenges should be expected of any brand policy.

"We should accept the fact that the FSHS is a good thing for us as a nation," he said.

He, however, noted that it was time for the government to perhaps call for a critical review of the implementation of the FSHS to make it cost-effective and improve the quality of education that was provided.

He said GIMPA was an institute set up to look at the government's policy and actions and would be happy to take that initiative in bringing experts together to look at the policy.

Prof. Bonsu noted that the FSHS policy was a great one that he believed must be sustained for generations yet to come to benefit from it.

Law to make it compulsory

The Executive Secretary of the Institute for Transgenerational Leaders, Odeneho Oppong Prince, in his welcome address, said despite the setbacks, Ghana's FSHS policy was still one of the country's greatest legacies.