Even though the Akufo-Addo government, would want Ghanaians to believe that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its flagbearer, John Dramani Mahama, would cancel the Free Senior High School education, when they assume power in 2021, the fact remains that, the very idea of making education free, was conceived by the NDC and was captured in the 1992 Constitution.
Free SHS, like the Value Added Tax (VAT) that the New Patriotic Party (NPP), opposed when it was first introduced, has come to stay and no government can cancel it.
The policy, is a good one, but which has been badly implemented. Heads of Second Cycle Institutions are afraid of victimization and so, have remained tight lipped about the problems they are facing, as far as the smooth implementation of the policy is concerned.
Government has decided against even the advice by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, to atleast allow the reintroduction of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) dues.
According to Graphic Online of October 23,2019, The Parliamentary Select Committee on Education has expressed its commitment to push for the review of the suspended Parent Teacher Association (PTA) dues in all Senior High Schools (SHSs) in the country.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr William Agyapong Quaittoo, who articulated the resolve of the committee, told the media that the decision followed complaints by various heads of SHSs that all ongoing PTA projects had been halted after the suspension of the collection of PTA dues during the committee’s monitoring visit to some selected SHSs in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions.
The problems the Committee encountered are just the tip of the iceberg. The full dossier is always revealed anytime CHASS holds its annual conference.
With increase in student population comes a corresponding rise in the demand for the basic amenities, chief among them infrastructure.
However, the government decided to rush the policy, ignoring all experts’ advice to at least have a cut-off point, which will mean that, candidates who will obtain a certain aggregate will have to look for other options, which will include vocational or technical education.
There is no doubt that the unavailability of infrastructure is affecting teaching and learning.
A parent posted on Facebook, how his ward who is part of the Gold Track, reported to school on November 15, 2019 and vacated on December 19, 2019 and will resume on March 1, 2020. The students were in school for just four weeks but will be on vacation for 10 weeks (Two months and two weeks).
This newspaper is of the opinion that, addressing the issue of infrastructure is critical for the future of the next generation, especially because the numbers are going to increase going forward.
Another area of concern is the arrears that keep piling up, with the Heads of Second Cycle Institutions on collision course with suppliers.
Education is key to the development of every nation, as such as a newspaper, we call on CHASS to begin speak up and stop murmuring anytime they attend their conference.