As Education Minister, I am utterly dedicated to the notion that the poor and disadvantaged must get the same opportunities as any other child to pursue their dreams through the power of education. That is why President Nana-Addo’s Free SHS policy excites me, and I feel honoured at being given the opportunity to implement it.

I have heard many people saying “we can pay for our kids schooling so allow us to pay”.

One wonders, if the wards of these persons are posted to lesser known SHS will they still ask to be allowed to pay?

They are ready to pay for their kids to attend the best SHS in our societies because they are can afford to do so. Invariably, this leaves the lesser schools for the poor kids, whose families are unable to afford dollar-indexed fees at private junior high school. We cannot build a society of opportunity and promise by perpetuating such anomalies.

That is why we have introduced the equity element into the Free SHS program, but ring fencing 30% of places in our elite SHS for public school children who perform reasonably well.

We believe that with the right support, such children will thrive and be encouraged to perform much better when given such opportunities.

Social mobility is important if a society is to flourish and prosper. A child from a poor family should never have his or her life programmed unto a path of despair and despondence solely on the basis of his or her family’s financial circumstances. That child deserves all the support to be able to sit and learn with his or her peers from across the economic divide.


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