EDITORIAL: Release Subsidies Early
The Upper East Regional branch of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) last weekend threatened to close down senior high schools (SHSs) in the region to avoid starving the students, since suppliers were no longer willing to supply the schools with food items.
The heads also complained about the harassment and embarrassment they continued to endure at the hands of suppliers as a result of the non-payment of credited food items.
These threats and complaints from CHASS appear to have become perennial in the educational sector.
The Daily Graphic wonders why it has to take threats from CHASS before the Ghana Education Service (GES) responds or initiates action to have the problem resolved.
The GES manages the second-cycle educational system and we believe the authorities are aware that students in boarding houses are fed from the subsidies paid by the government.
Why would the GES have to wait for these threats before acting? Is it that education is no longer a priority?
We know that the GES sanctions the reopening of schools before students report to school. If this is so, how come it does not initiate the release of the subsidies well ahead of the reopening of the schools?
The delay in the release of subsidies does not only affect the mental state of the students but also distract from the core functions of headmasters. For, instead of concentrating on the administration of their schools, headmasters and their teams have to find ways to keep the boarding houses operational, while at the same time running away from food contractors.
Whatever be the case, if the GES suspects that making the subsidies available before the reopening of the schools will be subject to abuse, then it has to initiate measures to check that.
It is not fair for students to be starved or sent home because of the non-availability of subsidies.
Apart from the fact that the delay subjects students and parents to pain, the various heads are also harassed by suppliers for the non-payment of food items bought on credit.
It is not easy to take money from government kitty and that explains why the GES must have a system in place to ensure that before the students go to school, everything is set for a smooth transition.
The perennial problem of CHASS issuing threats before subsidies are released must end if, indeed, we are interested in the character formation of our children.
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