President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has revealed his government’s intention to extend the free Senior High School initiative to cover technical and vocational institutions in the country this year.

Delivering a keynote address at the National Conference on Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (TVET), at the Koforidua Technical University on Thursday, President Akufo-Addo said the free technical education will run parallel with the free basic and senior high school programme.

“This year, we are taking an equally dramatic and important step to align education to our needs.  We are this year launching the flip side of Free SHS. Government is launching a system of free technical and vocational education that runs parallel to the high school or secondary school. We are aiming to provide our young people with technical and vocational skills at both the secondary and tertiary sectors of education, to enable graduates employ themselves, and employ others after their training,” he added.

Akufo-Addo said the strategy of his government is to expand technical and vocational opportunities at both secondary and tertiary levels, and thereby strengthen the linkages between education and industry, as well as empower young people to deploy their skills to employ themselves and others.

“What I envisage in the technical and vocational education sector would involve a truly radical change in attitude on the part of all of us. Throughout the years, enough lip service has been paid to the TVET sector,” he said.

The President further stressed that “this time we are backing the talk with money and political will. This time, the interventions will be focused and seen through to proper conclusion.”

Nana Addo also told participants at the conference that his government is starting with the launch of a major project that will emphasize the importance of TVET, and redeem the misconception that technical and vocational education is inferior, and patronized only by less endowed students.

“We are aligning and bringing all public TVET institutions in the country under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Education to streamline their curricula, and improve the co-ordination of their training. To this end, one Deputy Minister for Education is to be specifically responsible for technical and vocational education, like there is a dedicated Minister of State for Tertiary Education,” he said.