The students spoke in separate interviews with the Junior Graphic after they had accompanied their parents to the SHSs they had been placed in to undergo the registration process for admission last Monday, September 11.
One of them, Dorcas Adusei, formerly of the Uniset Junior High School (JHS) at Nungua, said she was happy to have gone through the admission process at the Labone SHS, where she was placed.
She said it was a dream come through to get her first-choice school after three years of preparation at the JHS.
Dorcas’s mother, Mrs Afia Adusei, said the free SHS was real, adding that she was not asked to pay a pesewa for her daughter’s admission.
“I was shocked that they did not ask me to pay anything; it was as if I was dreaming. It is real, the programme is free; the government did not lie to us,” she said.
Another student, Ms Sherifa Abdallah, indicated that but for the long waiting, everything had been smooth at the Labone SHS, which was her second-choice school.
“I only stood there looking at my father as he went through the admission process,” she said.
Sherifa’s father, Mr Jabel Abdallah, also confirmed that the school did not ask him to pay any money and that all he had to do was to provide his daughter’s birth certificate, her National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) card and her results slip.
“I am happy my daughter is part of the free SHS. The money I would have paid will now be used to buy a few provisions and other things,” he said.
Master Eric Obeng, who had registered at the Presbyterian SHS (Presec) Osu, said he was both happy and sad.
According to him, he had worked hard to obtain aggregate 9 for his first choice school, Presec, Legon, but, unfortunately, he was placed at Presec, Osu.
“I am happy and sad because I wanted Presec, Legon. Now I am going to board a vehicle every day from Ablekuma to Osu,” he said, adding, however, that he was excited about the free SHS programme.
Mr Stephen Peprah, Master Obeng’s uncle, said “the free SHS has really come to relieve us”.
“We can save money now to cater for the other children we have. I only hope that the government will have the money to sustain this programme because this is the best thing to have ever happened in this country,” he added.
Master Kuntu Blankson, formerly of the Omega School at Ofaakor, noted that he was previously not happy that he had been placed at the Asuom SHS, but after going to the school to register and seeing the large number of first-year students and their parents, his initial fear had vanished.
“At first I was not happy because I did not like the school, but looking at the enthusiasm among parents and my fellow students, I have changed my mind. The free SHS is good,” he said.
His mother, Auntie Ama Jessica, said she had single-handedly sponsored her son’s basic education, adding: “I can tell you that my heart is full of joy because I did not pay any money to get him admitted.”
“I am so happy that I don’t even know how to express my joy,” she said.
The free SHS policy, which was launched yesterday, is the flagship programme of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).
Under the programme, there are no admission, library, science centre, computer laboratory, examination and utility fees.
There will be free textbooks, boarding and meals and day students will get a meal at school for free.