President John Dramani Mahama, on Thursday, renewed the Government’s commitment to implement the Progressively Free Secondary Education Programme for Senior High School (SHS) in the 2015/2016 academic year, which starts in September.
He said 367,565 students are expected to benefit from the programme, which would abolish tuition fee for both day and boarding students in public schools but students would pay for boarding and feeding fees.
President Mahama said this when he delivered State of the Nation Address to the Parliament in Accra.
He said the educational sector, in the 2015 budget, received the biggest allocation with GH₵6.7 billion and that showed the Government’s commitment of providing better education to the citizenry.
Work on the construction of the initial 73 Community Day SHS, he said, were on-going while that on 50 new sites had also begun to complement the existing high schools.
President Mahama announced that work on the University of Health and Allied Sciences in the Volta Region was in progress with the first batch of students being admitted to start the academic year.
He said the Government’s plan to convert Polytechnics to Technical University was on course, while it was considering the conversion of the University for Development Studies’ campuses in Wa and Navrongo in the Upper West and East Regions, respectively, to full universities.
On Social Protection, President Mahama said the Government had introduced a card known as the “EBAN Elderly Card”, which would enable elderly people of 65 years and above to enjoy transport services at 50 per cent discount and also to have priority access to banking and hospital services.
He said 15,000 ‘poorest households’ would this year be enrolled onto the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme, (LEAP), while 14,000 orphan caregivers would be trained to give good care to orphans and persons with disability.
The President urged Ghanaians to endeavour to eat what was grown locally to add value to the local produce in order to boost Ghana’s economy.
He said according to the Bank of Ghana, the country’s rice import bill had fallen by 41 per cent, which meant a lot more could be done to protect the local economy by patronizing locally made produce.
President Mahama said the revamping of the Komenda Sugar Factory was progressing, while work on the Dipali Sugar Factory in the Northern Region would begin this year to provide direct and indirect employment to the growing youth of Ghana.