Thirty-four students have been honoured by the government for their stellar performances at the 2019 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
Drawn from across the country, the recipients of the President’s Independence Day Awards, 2020 include two students with additional educational needs.
Their selection is based on the raw scores they obtained at the 2019 BECE organised by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
Each region was represented by the best female and male student who sat for the BECE from public basic schools.
On the theme “Consolidating Our Gains,” the beneficiaries are between the ages 14-19.
Instituted in 1993, the awards scheme seeks to recognise and reward academic excellence and to promote and encourage students with additional educational needs.
Presenting the awards to the beneficiaries in Accra yesterday, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said a great future awaits Ghana if its talents were harnessed.
Human capital development, according to the Vice President, is the basic ingredient for the development of any country; a belief he said government was not oblivious of.
“Growth depends on capital development and not gold or diamond. It is our belief in education that made us implement the free Senior High School programme,” he said.
Since the implementation of the fee-free policy, Vice President Bawumia said enrollment at the SHS level had jumped from 800,000 in 2016 to 1.2 million students in 2019 and is expected to increase by 100,000 in the 2019-2020 academic year.
It is for this reason, the Vice President said, the government introduced the double track system to be able to manage the numbers.
Taking a swipe at the critics of the double track policy, Dr Bawumia asked “Whose child should stay at home for others to go to school because of the unavailability of space?”
To be able to move from the double to a single track system, Vice President Bawumia said government had prioritised the provision of infrastructure in schools across the country.
The double track system, he said has ended in many schools expressing his conviction that the double track system would be phased out soon.
Beyond the efforts by government to increase access, the Vice President said quality has not been relegated because it is only quality education that would produce informed students to compete with their peers.
To this end, the Vice President said teacher improvement programmes were being undertaken for them to be able to impact knowledge into their students.
Dr Bawumia encouraged the award winners, who are already in their first year in SHS, to take their studies seriously to make the country proud at the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI