Colour, excitement and joy yesterday greeted the official launch of the Free SHS policy by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the West Africa Senior High School (WASS) at Adentan in the Greater Accra Region.
The compound of the WASS was the centre of attraction as hundreds of people thronged there to witness the historic occasion.
Some parents who were dressed in school uniforms carried ‘chop boxes’ and some neatly dressed students holding placards that depicted aspects of the free SHS policy added colour to the event.
Some of the placards read: “The education of every Ghanaian child will ensure a safe, secure future, “Ghanaian children can learn as much as possible now, no fees wahala!”; “There is no excuse for any Ghanaian child not to get education.”
Other placards had inscriptions such as “Parents should not struggle with payment of school fees,” “Education teaches you to think intensively and critically,” “I have never met a man so ignorant that I could not learn something from him.”
The launch was not without political colouration as some New Patriotic Party (NPP) sympathisers dressed in their party colours sang self-composed songs and danced to welcome the policy.
For many of such people, speeches and officialdom were of no essence as they carried ‘chop boxes’, depicting students on their way to school.
They marched through an area which had been cordoned off in front of the presidential dais and defied promptings from security personnel to stay away.
Fortunately for them, the presidential security detail was prevailed upon to allow the party sympathisers to have a field day.
Songs, poetry and drama
The harmonious choir lit up the event ground with a song whose lyrics on the free SHS policy was written by the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education, Professor Kwesi Yankah.
The drama troupe of the Burma Camp Sec/Tech entertained the gathering with a drama performance based on the importance of the free SHS policy, while pupils from the Madina/La Nkwantanang Basic School performed a cultural dance.
It was not only parents who witnessed the event; hundreds of schoolchildren from public basic schools within the Adentan municipality and students from some senior high schools in Accra and Aburi were also present to grace the occasion.
They were smartly dressed in their colourful school uniforms.
The arrival of President Akufo-Addo was electrifying as flag-bearing schoolchildren lined up to welcome him with spontaneous cheers.
His arrival attracted a large crowd that massed up at the compound of the WASS while others hanged on the wall ostensibly to catch a glimpse of him.
For many of the students who witnessed the launch, it was their first time of getting so close to the President, and as he moved round the event ground, waving at the crowd, there was a near stampede as the schoolchildren tried to catch a glimpse of him.