Member of Parliament for Sagnarigu, Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini, has revealed that first year students in some of the nation’s second cycle institutions benefitting from government’s flagship Free SHS are being treated to ‘harsh’ conditions where they have to eat ‘crappy’ food.
He revealed this in an interview with Nana Aba Anamoah on the Tuesday edition of ‘State of Affairs’ on GH OneTV.
According to him, a visit to some government secondary schools and interactions with parents of some beneficiaries of the policy bring to bear the fact that the program is barely half as successful as they projected. First year students in some of the schools have to eat separate food from the rest of the student population; food which is of poor quality by all standards, leaving parents with the extra burden of having to provide food constantly for their wards.
“There’s an apartheid system existing in our schools today, if you go there, you’ll find out that first years, they are fed separately from the second and third years and their food is crap. Go to many schools, Achimota is in Accra here, you’ll find out, it is because of the monies paid and the inability of the monies to meet the feeding needs of the schools… there is a very terrible thing happening in the schools… ask most of the parents who have their wards in first year, they constantly send foods to their wards.”, he said.
Alhaji Fuseini argues that government has no right to claim credit for having fulfilled their promise to Ghanaians as far as the implementation of the Free SHS policy is concerned. His point being that the NPP promised to enrol all eligible persons on the policy but subsequently focused solely on first year students, relegating the second and third year students to the background.
“If you want for populace street popularity, to just go and do something to create the impression that you have brought Free SHS… don’t beat your chest and say you have done it all because I can say now that the vast majority, overwhelming majority of students are not benefiting from the Free SHS… so I can do the extension that parents are not happy because majority of parents who have their wards in Senior High Schools are not benefitting, it’s only the first year students, is that what NPP promised Ghanaians?...go and look again, they said ‘all eligible students, all!’”
“Even with the first years, they paid only 20% of the first term and that is what the Headmasters and others are complaining about”.
The Free SHS, one of government’s flagship policies was launched in September this year after which the first batch of entrants into government Senior High Schools were enrolled on the policy. While many have praised government for fulfilling their promise to Ghanaians by reducing the burden of having to cater for fees, the policy has come under severe criticism by others particularly some minority members in parliament who argue that the implementation of the program is problematic.
Alhaji Fuseini was speaking on issues regarding the NPP’s performance 11 months into office.