The Minister of Education, Dr Mathew Opoku-Prempeh, yesterday acknowledged that although rolling out the free senior high school (SHS) education policy would be tough, the government would spend every pesewa on the education of the Ghanaian child.
“We know that it is daunting, but we have chosen the side of the Ghanaian child to be educated, confident, a life-long learner to be able to participate in global affairs. We will welcome support from everybody,” he said.
While not discounting external support, he said the government was going to find a way to implement the policy, adding, “It is a journey that is rough but we will trek and come out victorious.”
“We are going to work out a plan, we are going to find a way of doing it,” Dr Opoku-Prempeh said in response to a question from journalists about the financial implication of the free SHS education policy.
He was speaking when the Finish Ambassador to Nigeria, with oversight responsibility for Ghana, Madam Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury, paid a courtesy call on him in his office in Accra yesterday.
The minister also received the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Sun Baohong, at his office.
Free SHS was a key campaign promise of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 2012 and 2016 general elections.
At the 60th anniversary celebration of the Okuapemman SHS at Akropong-Akuapem last Saturday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that his government would begin the implementation of its campaign promise to provide free public SHS education for all eligible Ghanaians from the 2017/2018 academic year.
The free public SHS education, he said, was aimed at building an educated populace for speedy national development and progress.
Alleviation of poverty
Dr Opoku-Prempeh underscored the importance of education in alleviating poverty, describing it as the shortest possible route out of poverty.
“The educated Ghanaian child has the human capacity and the options available to improve ignorance,” he said.
Pledge for support
The Finish Ambassador and her Chinese counterpart pledged the readiness of their respective governments to collaborate with the educational sector of the country.
They identified various areas of interest where they pledged to support the Nana Akufo-Addo government to realise its vision of promoting and improving education in the country.
Finish support in girls ICT
Outlining the area of interest, Madam Suomela-Chowdhury said the Finish government would continue to support Ghana in girl-child education in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
She announced that the Finish government was beginning an ICT coding workshop in Accra this week for the youth in African countries to be jointly handled by both Finish and Ghanaian technical personnel.
“I want to emphasise that we find it very important to try to encourage girls to get involved in technology and computer coding,” she said.
Madam Suomela-Chowdhury said girls would be encouraged to participate in the workshop because that was Finland’s area of interest.
She said the Finish government was committed to cooperating with Ghana in the training of teachers, describing that as an important aspect of the development of any country.
Ms Suomela-Chowdhury said there were incredible opportunities and areas of collaboration between the two countries and looked forward to having a “wonderful collaboration with the ministry”.
For her part, Madam Sun assured the minister that the Chinese government was ready to support Ghana to implement its educational policies and objectives.
She said China would collaborate with Ghana to build the capacity of players in education in the country.
She said the Chinese government was in support of the new administration’s initiative of upgrading the vocational facilities in the country.
“We believe China will play an important role in this regard in the future,” Madam Sun told the minister.