The President of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), Mrs Cecilia Kwakye Cofie, has called on the government to, as a matter of urgency, release subsidies which have been in arrears for three terms, to senior high schools (SHSs).
She said SHSs risked being closed down prematurely if the absorbed fees by the government did not reach the schools “immediately”.
Speaking at the 68th Speech and Prize-giving Day of the Winneba SHS in Winneba last Saturday, Mrs Cofie said: “The major challenges confronting SHSs are the arrears and subsidies, release of payment of scholarship to second and third-year students and the renege on the part of the government to supply food to the schools.”
The event was on the theme: “Quality education: The socio-economic need of Ghana”.
Mrs Cofie said although the heads of school had submitted the enrolment figures and also engaged the government on several occasions, nothing was forthcoming, saying: “It is a fact that heads of schools are under serious pressure but are afraid to voice it, for fear of intimidation and sanctions.”
She also called on the government to revert the procurement of items to the traditional suppliers since, in her estimation; the new contractors “maybe, don’t have the capacity to supply food items to the schools”.
She said since the Buffer Stock Company took charge of the supply of food items on the directive of the government, no supply had been made to the schools, a situation which was having a debilitating effect on the academic work of the schools.
She said the heads had fallen on fees paid by continuing students to feed first-year students, saying those fees were also not forthcoming.
According to the CHASS President, who has just handed over the administration of the school to a new head, the heads of all institutions had wholeheartedly embraced the free SHS policy, since it was meant to relieve them from the challenges of demanding fees from students, most of whom could not afford to pay.
Payment of school fees
She said the free SHS policy had seriously affected the payment of fees by continuing students, with most of them refusing to pay their fees because, according to them, they too were Ghanaians who must enjoy free SHS.
“The challenge is also that a Ghana Education Service (GES) policy forbids the sacking of students from school for non-payment of school fees. So we are in a fix,” she said.
On discipline in the school, Mrs Cofie said it had paid off in academic work, with the school being rated as the third best among Category A schools in the country.
For her part, the Headmistress of the Winneba SHS, Mrs Anastasia Thomford Okyere, said the large number of students placed in the school by the CSSPS had put immense pressure on dormitories, sanitary facilities, dining hall, furniture and classroom furniture.
She said there was a serious shortage of security men, artisans, labourers and cooks, adding that “this has come about as a result of the government’s freeze on employment”.
She commended the government for starting the process of award of contract for the construction of a 3,000-seater assembly hall.
The headmistress said in the recent West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), the school recorded 98.2 per cent passes in six to eight subjects out of the 681 candidates registered.
She lauded the old students association of the school for its immense support for the school over the years
The acting President of the WINNESEC Old Students Association (WOSA) and Vice-President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, (CILT), Chief Teete Owusu-Nortey, enumerated many projects undertaken by the old students to improve academic work in the school.
He mentioned the organisation of the 68th anniversary of the school by the 1987 Year Group, the donation of 150 plastic chairs by the 1992 Year Group and the donation of 300 mono desks by the Member of Parliament for Effutu, Mr Alex Afenyo Markin.