From left: Joseph Tetteh, former President JJ Rawlings, Otiko Djaba and Sylvia Isabella Laryea
PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO’s government has budgeted GH¢9.26 billion for the educational sector for the 2018 academic year to finance the ‘Free SHS’ policy.
This has been captured in the 2018 budget statement presented to parliament on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, but it is yet to be approved by the legislators.
The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, made this clear while delivering an address on behalf of the president at the 4th Speech and Prize-Giving Day ceremony of the Methodist Girls’ Senior High School, Mamfe-Akuapem in the Eastern Region.
According to her, in addition to the budget allocation, the GETFund Law allows other education-related funds to be set up to enable Ghanaians make voluntary contributions to support education.
The minister also charged stakeholders in the educational sector to ensure discipline among the youth so that they can excel in their academic pursuits, and make them more productive in terms of nation-building.
Speaking further, Ms Otiko Djaba said, “Parents have an obligation under Article 28 of Ghana’s Constitution to ensure that every child has the right to special care, assistance and maintenance; and so the importance of parental responsibility to our children cannot be overemphasized. Good parental guidance and supervision are key to the development of every child.
“… So I urge all stakeholders, including parents, school authorities, students, CSOs, traditional and religious leaders as well as the government agencies and departments involved in the development of our children and young ones, to put our shoulders to the wheel…..to mould our students and to develop their full potentials into the next generation of inventors, innovators, politicians, scientists, industrialists and nation builders.”
She told the students that the government’s ‘One District, One Factory’ initiative “is just the right economic vehicle for you our future female leaders, to be prepared to be active drivers of the economic development of Ghana.”
Ms Otiko Djaba pledged the commitment of the government to ensuring that “every Ghanaian child of school-going age is given free, quality education from kindergarten to the senior high school level in order to ensure equal opportunities, gender equality and equity for all, and to achieve the SDG 5. My ministry, in line with the vision of the NPP government, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that no Ghanaian child is left out or behind.”
In an address, former President Jerry John Rawlings, who is the Sanitation Ambassador, called on the law enforcement agencies to enforce the sanitation laws of the country by prosecuting persons who litter the environment.
According to Mr Rawlings, who was speaking on the theme, “Discipline: A Prerequisite for Academic Excellence, Stakeholders’ Take, he had been inspired by the high level of environmental discipline exhibited by the school – making its environment attractive and conducive for academic work. He wondered why, in spite of all the laws governing the environment the country continues to grapple with serious sanitation challenges.
He stressed that to ensure environmental sanitation the government must work through the law enforcement agencies.
The former president called on chiefs, opinion leaders and the youth to rally behind the government towards the development of the nation.
The Deputy Regional Minister, Joseph Tetteh, who read a speech on behalf of the president, said the government is determined to provide good quality education to all Ghanaian children, adding that it (government) is very much aware of the challenges surrounding the implementation of the ‘Free SHS’ policy.
According to him, as it is the case of any new policy, those lapses are bound to happen. However, Mr Joseph Tetteh maintained that the government would not throw up its hands in despair at the challenges but would make all efforts to address them in terms of infrastructure and logistics.
Sylvia Isabella Laryea, headmistress of the school, said the introduction of specialist teachers for students with disabilities, monitoring and teaching trackers, academic exchange programmes with foreign institutions, had improved the academic standard of the school.
She stated that the school was facing infrastructural challenges – lack of ultramodern dining hall, assembly hall and kitchen.
FROM Daniel Bampoe, Mamfe