It is reported that, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government is struggling to manage the popular Free Senior High School (FSHS) Intervention/Policy.
This was widely alluded to by some key members of National Democratic Congress including the the Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament’s Committee on Education, Dr. Clement Apaak who says, Akufo-Addo’s government is mismanaging the education sector.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has fully introduced the Free Senior High Schools Policy in 2017 after winning the December 2016 Presidential Election against the then sitting president John Dramani Mahama of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Though, some members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), some parents and Ghanaians have widely criticized the introduction of the Policy, some of whom described it as poorly introduced intervention or Policy, the government, through the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service have since debanked the claims and described it as political criticism.
According to the government, they are on the right path to fulfilling the constitutional provisions as stated in Article 25 1b of the 1992 Constitution, “Secondary education in its different forms including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education.”
The Ministry reinterated that, Goal 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) states: “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.”
It has therefore been a priority of the government and the Ministry of Education to ensure that education is made free from basic to secondary to afford more children in Ghana the opportunity to access quality education.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government explained that, the two key principles of the Free SHS policy are “Equity and Access”.
The objective is to ensure that the already disadvantaged students in society get equal opportunity and access to quality education no matter where they come from and their family background.
In the midst of the discussion, the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) has expressed disastisfaction and worry on how the government is managing the Free Senior High School Policy.
The National Executive Committee of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) following the improper management of the Policy has given President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government conditions for reopening of Senior High school in 2022.
In a resolution issued by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (Chass), after a meeting in Kumasi on the 23rd December 2021 have unanimously resolved not to open schools until government through the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service address pertinent challenges facing Senior High Schools.
The meeting held by CHASS was centered on discussions of challenges they face at their Schools in the implementation of the Free Senior High School (FSHS) Government Policy, especially challenges of erratic supply of food to schools and financial constraints; delays in the release of monies to schools and also the releases that are generally done in bits, affecting the smooth running of the schools.
Following this, CHASS has resolved that by the 31st December 2021, Government and for that matter the Ghana Education Service (GES) must release the full complement of the outstanding monies and food supplies to schools which include:
A. First Semester forms one and two recurrent (balance) for 2021.
B. The whole of Second Semester recurrent for forms one, two and three.
C. Form one perishables for Second Semester.
D. fifty percent of form 3 perishables.
E. Teachers Intervention Money.
F. Staff Motivation.
G. Development Levy.
H. Fifty percent examination levy.
According to CHASS, the National Food and Buffer Stock (NABCO) should make available all outstanding food supplies to schools before the scheduled date.
National Executive Committee of CHASS noted that, if government fails to comply by their directive, they will officially inform Management of the Ghana Education Service on the 4th January 2022 and advise parents not to send their wards to schools on the reporting date of January 5, 2022, as Heads will not be able to administer the running of the schools amidst these challenges.
CHASS prays and hopes that the issues enumerated above would be addressed by the end of this year, to avert any unfortunate happenings across second cycle institutions in Ghana.