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Free SHS policy: ‘Why won’t you allow those who can pay to pay?’ – Prof. Gyampo to government

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A Political Scientist at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, has urged government to consider a review of its flagship Free SHS policy, by allowing those who can pay to do so.

The suggestion by the lecturer was in reaction to the measures by government to address the current economic difficulties in the country.

Speaking in an interview with Raymond Acquah on UpFront on Thursday, Professor Gyampo stated that, even though he’s pleased with some of the austerity measures, which were announced by the Finance Minister on Thursday, he believes that there is more that could have been done.

In this regard, he stated that, the Free SHS policy is one of such initiatives which should have been modified to lessen the burden on government’s treasury.

“Several proposals have been made, but government may want to still stick to its Free SHS project. But why won’t you allow those people who can pay to pay? And then also, if that is not the case, why won’t we limit the Free SHS to only day students? So everybody gets Free SHS but those who want to lodge there, who want to enjoy boarding facilities, to pay for those boarding and lodging.

I think these would help to ease the pressure on our public purse. And I was hoping that this will feature in the measures that were proposed. But it appears government cannot do it all, but at the same time, it is refusing to accept help from people who genuinely want to help to make sure that the system is improved”, Professor Gyampo said.

He added that, as of now, the programme is fraught with a myriad of challenges, which affects effective teaching and learning across the various second cycle institutions in the country.

Ranging from the absence of limited infrastructure to shortage of food and other setbacks, pupils who are enrolled under the Free SHS programme are faced with a lot of inconveniences, and hence the need for government to embrace a revision of the policy.

Touching on the decision by government to wean-off public tertiary institutions in its expenditure, Professor Gyampo said the idea is a welcome development. In his view, the calls for government to allow public universities to run their own affairs is long overdue.

According to the lecturer, if this is done, public universities will have the opportunity to determine their own fees structure that will help them in their expenditure, including the payment of lecturers. On that note, he disclosed that during the just ended UTAG impasse, this was part of the suggestions his colleagues and himself hinted.

Professor Gyampo however stated that, the problem with most leaders is their lack of will to implement the plans they put on paper, and therefore he will be watching to see how government will roll out the plethora of austerity measures which were outlined by the Finance Minister on Thursday.

Addressing the press on Thursday, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Attah, disclosed a series of measures, which according to him will help in getting the economy back on track. As part of his delivery, he stated that, public tertiary institutions in the country will be weaned-off government’s payroll.

He noted that the institutions would rather be provided with a fixed amount “block grant.”

The Finance Minister, however, did not give details of this policy. A block grant is an annual sum of money allocated by central government to a state agency to help fund a specific project or programme.

However, on the Free Senior High School policy, he disclosed that “President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has absolutely no intention to roll back on a major policy like Free SHS.

We see education as the best enabler for sustainable economic growth and transformation and will do more to improve on it for it to serve more and better our children”.

BY MCEE CARTHY

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Elon Musk Hopes to Test a Brain Implant in Humans Next Year

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In this still image from the Neuralink presentation video on YouTube, a presenter, lower left, described how a monkey used a wireless transmitter to “type” characters on a keyboard.Credit...Neuralink

Neuralink, the startup Elon Musk founded to link our brains directly to computers, showed progress Wednesday in two medical areas: helping blind people to see and helping people with spinal cord injuries to walk or use their hands.

The company, one of five that Musk leads, is working on technology to drop thousands of electrodes thinner than a hair into the outer surface of human brains. Each electrode is a tiny wire connected to a battery-powered, remotely recharged, quarter-sized chip package that’s embedded into a spot that once held a circle of skull. The chip, called the N1, communicates wirelessly with the outside world.

The technology is still far from the initial medical uses, much less Musk’s ultimate vision of using Neuralink to hang out with superintelligent AIs. But the company is making significant progress, including applying with the Food and Drug Administration to begin human trials it hopes to start within six months, the company said at a “show and tell” event lasting more than two hours.

“Our goal will be to turn the lights on for someone who’s spent decades living in the dark,” said Neuralink researcher Dan Adams, who’s working on the effort to repackage camera data into a brain-compatible format and pipe it directly to the visual cortex.

Musk has some cred when it comes to revolutionary tech. His electric-vehicle company Tesla is profoundly changing cars and his SpaceX outfit is transforming space access with reusable rockets. His reputation as a tech genius has taken a beating, though, with the chaos at Twitter after his $44 billion acquisition. Musk’s Boring Company, which aims to revamp auto transportation with tunnels, also hasn’t lived up to its promises yet.

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US President Joe Biden turns 80 Today: New Generation’ of Democratic Leaders Takes Control in Congress

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President Joe Biden will celebrate his 80th birthday on Sunday, marking the first time a sitting president has reached that milestone while in office and fueling speculation about how his advancing age will affect his political future.

Biden — who was the oldest person to assume the presidency in January 2021, just 61 days after his 78th birthday — has said he intends to make another White House bid, even as his age-adjacent peers, including 82-year-old House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have made the decision to step away from leadership in order to make way for a younger generation.

“My intention is that I will run again. But I’m a great respecter of fate and this is ultimately a family decision. I think everybody wants me to run but we’re going to have discussions about it. And I don’t feel any hurry one way or the other to make that judgment.” he said last week, after helming what many say is the most successful midterm election for a sitting president’s party in decades, though noting that those results would not have an impact on his decision to run again.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden greets guests before speaking at an event at the White House complex, Nov. 18, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

Biden is the oldest person to serve as commander in chief in the nation’s history. Should he seek reelection in 2024 and win, the president would be 86 by the end of his second term. He has said he’ll talk over his future with his wife and the rest of his family over the holidays.

Biden has said he is hoping that he and his wife “get a little time to actually sneak away for a week around between Christmas and Thanksgiving” and that his decision to run for reelection will likely “be early next year we make that judgment.”

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Shanquella Robinson’s Death in Cabo, Father Believes Attack Was a Set Up

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Shanquella Robinson‘s mysterious death in Mexico smells like a set up to her father … he tells TMZ he believes his daughter was attacked as part of a diabolical plan.

Shanquella, who was from North Carolina, was found dead last month in her room in Los Cabos … where she was vacationing with a group of friends. Her parents say the friends told them the 25-year-old died of alcohol poisoning.

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