The Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) has secured a $500-million loan to construct new schools and renovate and expand facilities in existing schools, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has disclosed.
He said the move by the GETFund would enable schools to have adequate facilities to help them cope with the rising number of junior high school graduates benefiting from the free senior high school (SHS) policy.
President Akufo-Addo, who announced this at a grand durbar to climax the 80th anniversary of the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School (PRESEC), Legon in Accra last Saturday, explained that the double-track system was introduced to save the huge number of students who would have missed the boat.
The anniversary was on the theme: “Powerful past, prosperous present and prominent future”.
The occasion was used to launch the school’s GH¢8 million endowment fund by the old students which has already yielded Gh¢300,000.
President Akufo-Addo, who assisted some old boys and other dignitaries to cut a birthday cake for the school, was made an honorary member of the 1962-year group of the school and presented with a shield and a blue short-sleeved shirt as his uniform.
He inspected and inaugurated four projects on the campus, namely, the Visual Arts Complex, an E-Library, a road project and the Appeadu House.
The President stated that the double-track system would not destroy the educational system of the country, as naysayers were preaching.
The system, he said, would rather reduce class sizes, increase contact hours between teachers and students and increase the number of holidays.
He said more than 8,000 people had been employed to support the implementation of the double-track system and reiterated that the teething problems associated with its introduction would be addressed.
He pointed out that countries that had done well were those that made education and skills training their priority and invested in them.
The President said history and experience had shown that it was not natural resources such as gold, oil and cocoa that were going to build Ghana but its people and pointed out that if those natural resources could, they would have developed Ghana already.
Giving some statistics, he said on the average 100,000 candidates who passed the BECE each year could not take up their places in SHS from 2013 and 2016 because they could not afford the school fees.
President Akufo-Addo said if the situation had persisted for 10 years, one million children would have dropped out of school at JHS.
That situation, he said, was an unacceptable outcome for any serious nation and would be dangerous for Ghana’s stability because it would be building a future of hopelessness for the youth.
He said it was to address such a gloomy future that the government took the bold step to implement the free SHS policy, which saw 90,000 more students gaining admission in 2017.
With the double-track system in 2018, he said, more than 180,000 more students would benefit from the free SHS policy.
The President said with the current policy and subsequent increased access to SHS, any student who studied very hard, irrespective of the social standing of the parents and where they came from, could have access to the best SHS in any part of the country at no cost.
He cited the example of Ms Aboagyewaa Yeboah, a student of the Chiraa Methodist Basic School A, who had gained admission to Achimota School, thereby becoming the first student from the town in the Brong Ahafo Region to attend Achimota.
He urged students to take advantage of the opportunity of being in school to study hard and become responsible people in future.
The newly elected Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Prof. J. O. Y. Mante, commended the old students of the school for their support for the school and gave an assurance that the church would support them in making PRESEC the best secondary school in West Africa.