Monday, 19 October 2015
Inauguration Of New Community SHS
In line with the National Democratic Congress' manifesto to ensure equitable access to secondary education in Ghana, President John Mahama made two key campaign commitments in the run-up to the 2012 general elections.
The first one was to build 200 community Senior High Schools, and the second; to implement the 1992 constitutional requirement to make secondary education progressively free. It is significant to note that the objective of the dual promise is to expand physical access, with a focus on underserved rural communities and provide needed incentives for Ghanaian teenagers to enroll in secondary schools.
And so, within a space of one month, two of the new community day SHSs, namely Professor John Evans Atta Mills Senior High School at Otuam in the Mfantsiman East District of the Central Region, and Gwiraman Senior High School at Bamiankor in the Nzema East municipality of the Western Region, have seen the light of day, following their inauguration by President Mahama.
It must be put on record that these two community SHSs are characteristically the same in outlook, that is, the E-block structure. Each of the schools is made up of the following components: 24 classrooms, four laboratories for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Integrated Science, eight offices for departmental heads, ICT laboratories and Internet Learning Area. There is also, a hall for students and teachers to congregate for social events.
To demonstrate its resolve to successfully kick-start the programme, the government has released 12.2 million cedis to the Ministry of Education to pay for the first term fees. Items covered include examination, library, entertainment, Students Representative Council (SRC) dues, science development, Science and Mathematics quiz, sports, culture, ICT and curricular.
It is gratifying to note that, though the free SHS is beginning with day students, the road map for implementation would be religiously followed to cover boarding students. The Ministry of Education has further received funds to recruit 9,300 teachers to start the free SHS programme.
Indeed, one significant characteristic of the community SHS project is the location of ICT, Internet and Science Laboratories on the ground floor to compensate for the physically challenged.
This is not enough and so it is recommended that future structures factor in special walk ways within the school building to allow the physically challenged to have equal access to all floors. It is also recommended that buses be allocated to all the schools to enable them to transport students who live beyond five kilometers from the school.
Irrespective of whichever political persuasion one is aligned to, it is important to acknowledge the fact that the schools when fully completed, will be the property of Ghanaians and opened to all Ghanaian children desirous of attaining quality basic education. We say more grease to your elbow Mr. President and Government of Ghana.
BY: DAN OSMAN MWIN, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, MINISTRY OF EDUCATION.