We wish to commend the government for its relentless efforts in delivering free education to the masses of our people. This is indeed, a landmark achievement in the annals of our history in bridging the educational gap between all households. No child should be denied their right to education because of poverty. We believe in the assertion by Kofi Annan that ‘Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstone of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development’.
As indicated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reinforced in the Dakar Framework for Action and in the Sustainable Development Agenda adopted by the United Nations (UN), countries all over the world have recognized that costs, either direct or indirect hinders education. This is the reason why we are very elated by the introduction of Free Secondary Education in the country. We believe this will have positive impact on the enrollment as an estimated 120,000 qualified students, who would have hitherto been denied education, will now have free access to education.
We hold the view that, in spite of free education, parents still have role to play in their children’s education by supporting their wards where government falls short.
We however, wish to encourage the government to find a dedicated source of funding for the Free Education Programme and also create a legal backing through parliament for the programme. The parliamentary enactment will reinforce Article 25(1)(b) of Ghana’s constitution which states ‘secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education’. The parliamentary enactment backing the programme will create legal guarantee for free secondary programme irrespective of the government in power.
We also wish to appeal to the government to create seamless transition from Junior High School to Senior High School. The relevance of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) cannot be sustained in the current educational set up. Thousands of pupils are thrown into the streets by the current set-up. We cannot be making available free education at Senior High level whiles thousands at the Junior High schools level are denied continuous education each year.
We believe these are exciting times to be Ghanaian and as Aristotle said “the roots of education are bitter but the fruit is sweet”, lets embrace the free education programme and make it succeed.
Public Relation Officer