The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has applauded the contribution of the Chartered Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) for the contribution towards the successful implementation of the novel Free Senior High School Policy, which commenced in September 2017.
The President also commended them on the increasingly stellar performances of the students in the West African Senior High School (WASSCE) examinations since the introduction of the Policy.
Addressing the 61st Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), on Wednesday, 11th October 2023, President Akufo-Addo said, in the face of brute resistance from naysayers, this vindication, based on results, means, “there can no longer be any controversy about the validity of the Free SHS policy and its consequential measures.”
According to President Akufo-Addo, the WASSCE results of graduates from the have surpassed those chalked in 2016, prior to his assumption of office.
“Quality, despite the increased enrolment figures, which, as I have said, now stands at some 1.4 million students, has not declined. On the contrary, it has improved, and I want to use this opportunity to thank you warmly, members of CHASS, for the impressive results seen in the West African Senior High School examinations, since the commencement of the Free SHS policy in September 2017”, the President said.
He continued, “The 2022 WASSCE results of the third batch of the “Akufo-Addo graduates” shows 60.39% of students recording A1-C6 in English, as opposed to 51.6% in 2016; 62.45% recording A1-C6 in Integrated Science in 2022, as opposed to 48.35% in 2016, with the 2022 result being a slight regression from the 2021 pass rate of 65.70%; 61.39% recording A1-C6 in Mathematics, as compared to 33.12% in 2016; and 71.51% recording A1-C6 in Social Studies, as compared to 54.55% in 2016.”
President Akufo-Addo reminded the gathering that the 2021 batch of students, who also obtained very commendable results, were the pioneers of the double track system, which elicited a lot of unmerited vilification and unfounded criticism on its introduction.
“The 2022 results are the best of the last eight (8) years. Surely, there can no longer be any controversy about the validity of the Free SHS policy and its consequential measures,” he reiterated
On the rationale for the introduction of the Free SHS policy, he explained that, at the time he came into office in 2017, the country had the unfortunate situation, between 2013 and 2016, where, on the average, one hundred thousand (100,000) children, every year, who passed the B.E.C.E., could not take up their places in Senior High Schools, because they could not afford the fees, even though they had the qualifications.
He noted that this would have culminated in an “unacceptable outcome,” if this situation had persisted for a decade, when, cumulatively, “one million children would have dropped out of school at the level of Junior High School.”
Consequently, he indicated that, “it would have been too dangerous for Ghana’s stability, as we would have been building a future of hopelessness for our youth. Such a situation was intolerable, and my party and I were determined to end it. That is one of the principal reasons for the introduction of the Free Senior High School policy in September 2017, eight (8) months after I had taken office.”
As a result of the implementation of Free SHS, President Akufo-Addo stated that “access, under the policy, has gone from a population of 830,000 when I took office, to 1.4 million today, which means that, in effect, we have been able to catch and retain the annual 100,000 dropouts within the educational system. This has been a commendable development for the nation, and for the young people involved.”
With the assurance to work tirelessly to improve the conditions in which teachers and educators work and to provide continuous opportunities for their professional growth, President Akufo-Addo assured members of CHASS of “a brighter future for Mother Ghana, where the Ghanaian people will witness a flowering of Ghanaian civilisation, which will ensure that every Ghanaian child, no matter their economic, ethnic, gender, regional or religious background, will have ready access to quality education comparable to any anywhere in the world.”