Over Free SHS Policy
The former headmaster of La PRESEC Senior High School, Samuel Salamat, feels politically victimized over the treatment meted out to him by the Ghana Education Service (GES), over fallout from the implementation of the resource-strained Free SHS policy, at his deprived school.
Mr. Salamat, also believes his transfer was engineered by his haters, who are occupying some vantage positions in government, adding President Nana Akufo-Addo, whom he knows “very very” wouldn’t have sanctioned the transfer.
“I believe that somebody over there is using the official means to settle a score with me and the person can go on. The person knows himself or herself. The person can go on because I am very surprised about the turn of events,” he added.
According to him, the GES, did not give him a fair hearing, expressing surprise at the decision to transfer him from the school.
Mr. Salamat, was transferred from LA Presec as Headmaster for making an appeal to parents of beneficiaries of the free SHS policy to pay GH¢80 for the procurement of plastic chairs for their wards, since the school lacked such facilities.
But his action, incurred the wrath of the government, because the move was allegedly seen as a sabotage of the policy.
However, the students are currently sitting on cement blocks in uncompleted buildings and taking notes on their laps. Various internet platforms have been awashed with the pictures from the school. Many others schools are facing similar problems with some having hundreds of students in classrooms meant for 25 to 30 students.
The situation is not different in most boarding schools; congested dormitories with no beds and most of the students are sleeping on cold floors exposed to pneumonia.
“It is unfortunate that despite the relationship I have with the Ministry of Education, they could not invite me to find my side of the story. I feel very very hurt,” he said speaking on Accra-based the Citi FM, yesterday.
While suggesting that someone at the Education Service was using the situation to settle a personal score with him, he lamented that, “I have done a lot of work for the Ministry of Education, and I have not taken a pesewa…. Anyway, I will take it like that… I believe that somebody over there is using the official medium to settle a score with me and the person knows himself or herself. The person can go on because I am very surprised about the turn of events.”
The headmaster of the school, Samuel Salamat, was transferred to the Curriculum Research of Development Division (CRDD) at the Headquarters of the Ghana Education Service (G.E.S) in Accra from La PRESEC last week.
Initial reports said the transfer was orchestrated by his opening up to the media about the challenges of the school, however, the Deputy Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, said that the transfer was because he charged parents “illegal fees” contrary to government’s instruction.
But Mr. Salamat denied charging parents’ fees, instead, he asked for voluntary contribution to provide classroom desks to serve the over 600 fresh students.
This he was said was decided at a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting with very few teachers dissenting, adding he made the suggestions because education is supposed to benefit both the students and parents.
To him, if the teething problems facing the Free SHS policy, is not addressed immediately, products will be worse off than it happened when the Rawlings administration started the Junior Secondary School programme in the 1990s.
He noted that the school at the start of the academic year, had just about 90 desks in good shape for the Free SHS beneficiaries.
Mr. Salamat, however, said he would not protest his transfer as he believes he can still make a positive impact at his new place of work.
He lamented unfair transferred, especially having worked for free, while serving on a government committee whose work led to the implementation of the free SHS programme.
Prior to the implementation of the free SHS policy, government set up a 22-member committee in March 2017, to make recommendations on the way forward for the programme.
“I have done a lot of work for the Ministry of Education, I haven’t taken a pesewa, they are aware. This free SHS [policy] I was on two committees – I attended all the meetings and made valuable contributions, but I did not take a pesewa and I will not take a pesewa. But anyway I will take it like that,” he said, adding his transfer was unfortunate because government did not seek his side of the story in spite of his relationship with them.
“It is unfortunate that in spite of the relationship I have with the Ministry of Education, they could not invite me and find my side of the story. I feel very hurt, very hurt.”
However, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, said that the transfer was because he charged parents “illegal fees” contrary to government’s instruction.
“If you are charging fees you want parents to pay, of course not, it’s not approved. We’ve given you resources and you have development levy which is contributions that were supposed to be made by parents. If you need anything, you can use part of the development levy to do that. Why do you have to go to the parents and ask them to pay something that the government has already paid? Nobody condones any behaviour or whatsoever that will punish any headmaster for talking to the media,” he added.
Mr. Salamat, in an earlier interview with Citi News, had clarified that the supposed GH¢80 levy was voluntary.
“We have only appealed to parents that we have challenges with furniture so if they can help us repair our furniture so that we can start classes as early as possible. They cannot bring furniture from the house. We are telling them to make voluntary contributions so that we can use that to repair the furniture. It is voluntary, any amount that you can get… It is not a fixed amount. We only gave them the information that last year, parents paid GHc 80 to guide them.”
“If the person is unable to pay, we will still admit them… [But] if the chairs are not there, what can we do? A lot of my furniture is broken down. I have not taken stock to find out the furniture that is available. A lot of my tables and chairs are broken down and I can foresee that we will need more,” he said.