Education Minister Tells Free SHS Students
Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has asked Senior High Schools (SHS) students, to use polythene bag, if they lack toilet facility in their schools.
At a news conference in Accra on Thursday, November 30, 2017, Dr. Prempeh, answering a question on lack of toilet and other facilities in schools across the country under the Free SHS educational policy said; “There are few schools still in Ghana here that are secondary schools, which had no toilets; that is not the result of free SHS. So when you see students portraying that somebody says, I do it in rubber bag and I walk 45 minutes, at least you have the rubber bag”.
Lack of facilities, has plagued the free SHS programme with many schools, reporting of congestion, shortage of dormitories, beds, desks among others with some parents afraid of a break of pandemic, saying they are ready to pay fees and other things, for their wards to get proper treatment.
While food shortages have been reported in many schools, some students, have ended up in various hospitals with diarrhea, among others.
Indeed, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Kwame Amoako Tuffuor, has admitted that the free Senior High School (SHS) is fraught with numerous challenges and the earlier government addresses them, the better for it.
He revealed on Kumasi-based Abusua FM that, he wept after seeing the state of beneficiaries of the programme in one of the schools he visited to ascertain things for himself
“I wept once when I visited Free SHS students at school,” he disclosed.
The issue of how best government is treating free SHS students, has become one of the major concerns to both critics of the policy, parents and the opposition National Democratic Congress.
Government, has since said it is committed to make sure these children are treated well academically and socially.
There have been reports by various media houses, suggesting that, the children are not treated well in their various schools.
The government, has in one way or the other, defended the fact; however, few government officials have accepted the clams by the media.
Mr. Osei Mensah Bonsu, the Minister for parliamentary affairs and Majority Leader, accepted the situation on Kumasi based radio, Hello FM in an interview.
But Dr Amoako Tuffour, revealed his emotions on Abusua Fm, when questioned about the performance of Nana Addo led government so far in eleven months.
He said, “though the government is doing their best, yet, there has been some shortcoming of polices rolled out”.
“Like school feeding and all that. I once visited a school and witnessed it; there was this young lady I met. At the time, I noticed, she has eating all her food, licked her plate leaving no grain. She didn’t eat her egg on the food either. As I stood to see what see what she was going to do with it, she put her egg in the mouth and brought it out again and put it in her pocket. So I went to her and said, ‘you didn’t eat your egg’. And the reply she gave me was, that is my dinner. At that moment, I wept”.
However, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, challenged political critics to name secondary schools that are congested because of the free senior high school (SHS) education policy.
He said there is “no school” that the Free SHS Secretariat placed more students than the heads “admitted they can contain.”
The outspoken minister, said there is a record at the Secretariat detailing the number of first-year students sent to the various schools.
“If a head tells Free SHS Secretariat that ‘we can only admit 533’ and it places 520 students, (but only) 517 enrolled, how then do we say that Free SHS has caused congestion in the school?” he asked.