Speaking at the 61st Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) in Accra, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commended the graduates of Ghana’s Free Senior High School (SHS) program for their remarkable performance, highlighting their excellence compared to their predecessors.
President Akufo-Addo cited data from the 2022 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results to illustrate the significant progress made by Free SHS graduates. He noted that 60.39% of students achieved grades A1 to C6 in English in 2022, in contrast to 51.6% in 2016. Similarly, the results showed 62.45% of students scoring A1 to C6 in Integrated Science, compared to 48.35% in 2016.
While there was a slight regression in 2022’s mathematics pass rate (61.39% achieving A1 to C6) compared to 2021’s 65.7%, it was still a notable improvement over the 2016 rate of 33.12%. Social studies also saw progress, with 71.51% of students recording A1 to C6 in 2022, compared to 54.5% in 2016.
The President emphasized the necessity of the Free SHS program, stating that without it, qualified students would have been unable to attend school due to financial constraints. He expressed concern about the potential ramifications, stating, “It would have been too dangerous for Ghana’s stability as we would have been building a future of hopelessness for our youth.”
President Akufo-Addo lauded the Free SHS program’s impact on increasing access to education. Under the policy, access to senior high school education has risen from 830,000 students when he took office to 1.4 million today. He emphasized that this expansion enabled them to prevent an annual drop-out rate of 100,000 students.
Furthermore, the President asserted that the quality of education had not declined despite the increased enrollment figures. In fact, it had improved. He expressed his gratitude to members of CHASS for their role in achieving impressive results in the West African Senior High School Examinations since the introduction of the Free Senior High School policy in September 2017.
President Akufo-Addo introduced the Free SHS program eight months after taking office in 2017, with the goal of making education more accessible and improving the prospects of Ghana’s youth.