Government, together with the Ghana Education Service (GES), GES Council and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), before the implementation of the Free SHS Policy, agreed to absorb all senior high school fees.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Saturday, therefore, reiterated the resolve of Government to sanction Senior High School (SHS) heads, who charged unapproved fees or fees exempted under the Free SHS Policy.
The President said Government was aware of some reactionary elements in the country who were bent upon undermining the Policy and warned that when caught, they would be severely sanctioned for flouting the directives.
According to President Akufo-Addo, it was the nation's sacred duty to the youth and generations beyond to ensure that irrespective of their circumstances, their right to education was preserved.
President Akufo-Addo gave the warning in an address at the 60th anniversary celebration of Pope John Senior High School and Minor Seminary in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
The President told the gathering of staff, students and alumni of the school that it was the responsibility of the political leadership to create a society that produced opportunities to create wealth and empower them, adding that citizens could only make informed choices, if they were empowered with the capacity to make those choices.
"I know no better way to do so but through access to education. Any country that aims to transform itself into a modern productive player in the global marketplace must get its educational policies right," the President stressed.
He said education was key to human development that transformed and widened life's options for individuals and societies, facilitated the development of nations and enhanced a healthy democracy.
President Akufo-Addo said it was public knowledge, prior to the launch of the Free SHS Policy that an alarming rate of school children were falling out of the educational system at every stage and that Free SHS enabled 90,000 more students to gain access to Senior High School education in 2017 than in 2016.
Without the implementation of this policy, the President added, the spectre of 90,000 young men and women, without any employable skills, would have been "thrown onto the streets" to further entrench a future of hopelessness for Ghana's youth.
He disclosed that Government was addressing the teething challenges confronting the Free SHS policy and that procurement processes were currently on-going for the award of contracts for the provision of some 69,500 mono desks, 13,100 bunk beds, furniture for dining halls, staff rooms of teachers, computer laboratories and the provision of marker boards for classrooms.
Additionally, President Akufo-Addo said, funding had been secured for the expansion and upgrading of facilities in 75 SHSs across the country, while construction works on the existing Community Day Schools was also on-going.
He said Government, beginning this year, would also upgrade 42 Senior High Schools into model school status.
Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)