I have heard analysts proverbially that education has the power to break the societal cycle of poverty in Africa. Thinking deeply about it I find this statement relevant and workable too. Education melts illiteracy, ignorance and unwarranted pride. It stimulates innovation, invention and it is the only tool that can make one rise to global platforms. With all these benefits in mind, a fascination came in handy recently after President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo made an official announcement of free education in Ghana.
As a matter of fact with no sugarcoating, most of the Ghanaians are either low or middle level income earners. This means most families are struggling with the means to survival or living on hand to mouth. Children suffer as they are forced to drop out of school as parents hit snug in their inability to raise school fees. As expected, this was welcomed with cheer excitement and relief from both parents and students. The guarantee of studying with fewer if any hurdles for the same or even better education according to the free education policy in Ghana.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo made this much awaited announcement during his visit at Vakpo Senior High School which is at the Northern Volta Region in Dayi District for the 50th anniversary. From September 2017, free compulsory universal basic education in Ghana would be reinforced to ensure all benefit from the project and it will be dubbed free shs education in Ghana. The President need not emphasise the importance of the free education policy in Ghana urging youth to embrace education. He even went further to say education would end at Junior High School unless the sluices in the river of education are removed.
In your knowledge, the free education in Ghana constitution was only offered to primary and junior high school only. Nonetheless the proposal were done way back in 1995 while implementation happened in 2014 – when free education started in Ghana. Appreciatively though, students have since then been enjoying free education in Ghana but up to that level. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo while campaigning to be elected into office promised the populace that he will ensure senior high school education similarly become free. This promises so then had to be fulfilled and hence the free secondary education in Ghana.
Importance of free education in Ghana
In cognition of the economic status most parents are in this project is probably one of a kind with a promise to solve a problem. The free and compulsory education in Ghana was cordially receipted since people could naturally associate with the problem in question and hence was appreciated widely. Other than bringing relief to the financial burden parents were often posed with, there are other benefits brought about by free education in Ghana. Here are some of the benefits stemmed down from free shs education in Ghana:
Encourage the creation of an entrepreneurial climate – Free compulsory education in Ghana
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo actually pointed out this as the first step towards creation of an entrepreneurial spirit. Ideally, an entrepreneur is a person who is able to start and run a business withstanding all the internal and external barriers and possess virtues such as risk taking, persistent, innovative, independent, self motivated just to mention but a few.
If free education policy in Ghana was to be strictly followed, then education in primary, junior high school and senior high school would be freely offered to all. This means that if student have the elementary education they stand better chances of being their own bosses. This because the education would sharpen their skills and abilities to befit the market and hence foster an entrepreneurial climate
Improve the living standards of the people through free education in Ghana
Education is an eye opener, a cliché you and i have heard severally. But yes, indeed education is an eye opener. Going through school leaves some positive impact in our lives even if it is done subconsciously. We become more thoughtful and less ignorant of the things that matter in life. It is only through education that the society will be enlightened on better living styles or even how people can improve their living standards.
According to the free education policy in Ghana, students will be taught and molded into becoming fully fledged citizen capable of participating positively toward building the nation. The youth are then charged to prioritize education since they are the primary agents of change.
Transform the country’s economy positively – Free education in Ghana
This is a plain fact free education in Ghana will bring on bound. I would like to explain this using a satirical statement; place the ministry of health to a junior high school dropout, what is the expected end result? I hope you can all guess failure. Of course they will fail in management and administration, cannot tell apart relevant projects or deals from those that do not matter, financial management will be a challenge too. These are some of the things such a country will experience and our President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo wants none of these.
Free and compulsory education will input expertise into the students ensure they come out into the market fully equipped with knowledge. This knowledge will henceforth be put in good practice as they devise ways to solve problems in the economy.
Importance of free education in Ghana – Industrialization
Education is the catalyze to innovation and invention. It is through education, people can develop a system, software or channel that brings efficiency especially if used for industrial purposes. Some of the greatest minds I know world over have gone through school, passed honorable and later been absorbed into the market where they are making products that astonish us.
The global paradigm shift is towards industrialization thanks to technological advancement. Following this universal trend, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo is concerned that Ghana should not be left behind but should actually be competing to lead. Free education in Ghana is then an instrumental tool towards industrialization.
How to solve social, economic and political challenges through free education in Ghana constitution
As you all know, education beget knowledge and knowledge begets wisdom. Ghana as a country though has worked tirelessly to remove challenges it is facing, some are still standing unshakable and some force has to come tactfully and drive them off. This force is called education, which understands every dimension of our modern day challenge and it able to deal with it terminally.
Ideally when people go through school, facts about life become clearer to them regardless of whether that is social –societal, economic or political. The elite are able to address a challenge of any kind or magnitude. For instance, an economic crisis can be address by people with great business acumen. This saves the country from getting deep into a mess. Free education policy in Ghana will help is problem solving challenges the country could be facing.
The above are some of the importance of free education in Ghana. Clearly if this project is to be implemented as was planned then it has great benefits to all both in the short run and in the long run. Reportedly, Madam Charity Adzoa Calai, the Headmistress of Vakpo Senior High School said that since this policy became into full operation in 2017, she has registered a student population increase. This is something to smile about as from the onset we can lightly judge that the project is working.
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Disadvantages of free education in Ghana
Just like a coin has two sides, I would like to focus my attention on the other side of free education in Ghana. Will it be all a good thing to smile about? What other challenges is it going to bring along? Will the quality be affected? Will the workforce be enough? Are there enough infrastructures to spearhead the project smoothly? How sustainable is it?
Well, I am not being pessimistic here, but am getting more real on the situation as ambition may get the whole over us. Education is a good thing and as a matter of fact it is very essential and commendable. However, we understand that this sector has its fair share of challenges that need to be overcome. Allow me to get deep and go beyond the cheer excitement about free and compulsory education in Ghana and bring out some facts clear:
Poor planning of the project – Free education in Ghana
Planning should take more time than implementation of a project for it to be viable, practical and mutually benefiting too. The case of free and compulsory education in Ghana did not have this approach or it was trivialized or down played. Analyst have been concerned about the overall project which was good and still is but one that stands on the hem of collapsing.
Unsustainable implementation of the free shs education in Ghana
As the project is already ongoing, the New Patriotic Party Government has allocated Ghc 480 million on the fiscal year 2017/2018 to cater for the cost of free education in Ghana. This is by far a huge sum of money to spend on year with no definite way of revenue generation. In the end the country may end up bankrupt thanks to the free secondary education.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo said the project is to be funded from proceeds of the natural resources. In practicality, the natural resource can get depleted, what then will happen? Who then will fund the free education in Ghana? The project is good but built on a shaky foundation that may not last. In simpler terms I would say the free shs education in Ghana may not sustainable in the long-run unless the government of the day devises other ways to support the program.
Financing challenge of free education in Ghana
This is a paramount angle to which this project should have first been based on; in terms of the financial demands, how to overcome them and where else to generate revenue to cover up for the government free spending. This was completely omitted making the project be synonymous with a car with no fuel but with the driver and other occupants on board ready to take off. Of course we know they can’t go any further and if they appear to the journey will be thwarted in a few moments.
Similarly, the free compulsory universal basic education in Ghana is on a like trend. The journey seems to have taken off well, but question of sustainability and funding will slowly but surely stop the project before it even leaves the infancy stage.
Concerns have been expressed right left and center. Financial experts and analyst are worried that this project may drain the country significantly, parents concerned about being passed on the financial responsibility through taxation or through other indirect ways the government may come up with. Students are terrified that the project may not be long term and that before long their joy may be short-lived.
The government in curbing the situation before it gets out of control should come up first and address these challenges that free education in Ghana is bringing in. Dr. Ekwow Spio Garbrah, a former trade minister has indeed confirmed that all these problems came from lack of proper planning. Nonetheless, the situation can be contained. The ball is now to the government to ensure these are dealt with and a mutually benefiting plan is adopted.
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