Traders laud Free SHS policy for bridging education inequality gap

Traders laud Free SHS policy for bridging education inequality gap

Some market women in Accra have lauded the Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy as a groundbreaking initiative, saying it will help in levelling the education playing field in the country. 


During a symposium titled 'The Free SHS Story,” organised by the Ministry of Education at the UPSA Auditorium, the women took turns to share their experiences and perspectives on the transformative impact of the FSHS policy.

The forum which discussed the policy in totality drew participants from the education sector, selected students from across the country, faith-based organisations, politicians, traditional leaders, civil society organisations and a cross section of the public.

The market women recounted the challenges they faced in the past to pay school fees for their children who were in senior high school (SHS). They said with the FSHS policy  both rich and poor students could now attend the same schools without financial hindrances.

A fish seller from the Madina Market, Esinam Akpedo, highlighted how the FSHS policy had empowered her to support three of her children through university education. She emphasised that the elimination of financial constraints had enabled students to focus on their studies without distractions, ultimately opening doors for them to pursue their desired courses at the tertiary level.

Afia Serwaa, known as the Queen of tomato sellers at Agbogbloshie Market, shared her struggles as a single mother supporting her daughters through SHS.

However, she said when it came to her son who was now in the third-year in SHS in the Eastern Region, there was no challenge with fees and that had allowed him to study without difficulty, since the FSHS policy started.

Economic transformation

During the symposium, the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, emphasised the pivotal role of the FSHS policy in shaping the nation's economy by nurturing 21st Century manpower.

He commended the recent academic achievements of the five regions of the north, attributing their success to the FSHS policy's impact on education quality and access.

Dr Adutwum showcased various educational developments in the country, expressing optimism that sustained progress would position Ghana as a leader in education within the African continent.

He said the policy since its inception in September 2017 by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's administration had enrolled a cumulative 3,046,172 students. Dr Adutwum, giving the regional enrolment breakdown, revealed that the five regions in the north were the five top beneficiaries of the initiative, with the Northern Region leading with 95 per cent followed by North East (94 per cent), Savannah (94 per cent), Upper East (92 per cent) and Upper West (89 per cent) as of December 2023.

At a ceremony in Accra to celebrate the success story of the Free SHS initiative and restrategise for the future, Dr Adutwum said the policy had touched many lives considering the various benefits it had brought to the Ghanaian student, parents and the nation at large.

“We can’t continue to talk about the knowledge economy and not focus on what will take us there in terms of creating that knowledge economy. So, today is all celebration. Today, we are paying tribute to the President of the Republic and the Vice-President for their vision, persistence and dedication which have made the Free SHS policy a resounding success,” he stated.

Social impact

The National Coordinator of the FSHS Policy, William Darkwa, highlighted the positive societal changes catalysed by the policy. He emphasised improvements in equity, access and quality across all SHS/TVET institutions, underscoring the policy's overarching objectives.


Initiated by the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government in 2017, the FSHS policy continues to shape the skills and knowledge of Ghanaians through various initiatives.

These include STEM education, the revitalisation of TVET education and the introduction of Pre-Engineering and robotics programmes, among others.

The FSHS Secretariat, in support of the policy, has launched projects such as STEMNNOVATION to nurture students' diverse talents and abilities, further enhancing the educational landscape of the nation.

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