FREE SHS Policy And Planned Sabotage By Some Headmasters
The Free SHS Policy is premised on three intertwined core values: Access, Quality and Affordability.
From Gambaga to Accra and Western to Eastern Regions of Ghana, I have had an interaction with some tutors, parents and community leaders which puts me in a position to come through with the following observations:
1. ACCESS: It has been my observation that there has been a tremendous increase in students' enrolment thereby helping to solve problems associated with high drop-out rate and streetism. To this end school heads declared vacancies for boarding and day students.
What I have gathered from the system, is that, some Headmasters have created a crisis situation by rather admitting more students into the Boarding House so that they can use same as the basis to ask for new dormitory projects and ultimately to make some financial gains.
A visit to some schools between 9pm to 10:30pm shows a good number of students without beds while others sleep in the corridors. If there is any epidemic, we wouldn't have an answer to same. In fact it is only God who is looking after these kids.
I am therefore of the view that Government should rather provide more classroom facilities to cater for high intake in the ensuing years. After all, issues in the boarding house such as bed-bugs, stealing, gayism/lesbianism and poor sanitation are management problems. We don't have bed-bugs in our homes so let us read between the lines what is actually happening. It is also on record that day students perform better in their academic work than boarding students. That granted, schools without boarding facilities should not overburden government but rather concentrate on academic enhancement programmes.
I have also noted that the congestion in schools is due to lack of proper planning by some Headmasters and an attempt to hoodwink the government.
2. QUALITY....... The core business of school administrators, are : to admit students, educate and train them, see to their graduation. It is quiet obvious that " the calibre of students a school churns out, are a reflection of it's tutors and proper management "..... My observations and intelligence gathered so far has been that, the Assistant Headmasters are not empowered to check on teacher absenteeism and immoral sexual activities in schools.
More emphasis should therefore be on increasing contact hours and implementation of recommendations offered by external school Inspectors/Monitors.
Students' Terminal Report:
Parents continue to lament on schools failing to give prompt feedback on the wards academic performance. While some schools send report in soft-copy earliest by two-weeks before reopening, majority are only able to accomplish that task one month after school has reopened for academic work.
The worse of it all is that parents are made to pay for electronic transmission of this undue delay.
I wish to submit here that, students' terminal reports should be sent two weeks before reopening, it must be in soft-copy and sent to parents via the postal addresses available and parents should not pay any extra money for electronic transmission of student's terminal report.
It is my view that not more than ten(10) students should be repeated per programme ( Gen/Arts, Gen. Sci, Visual Arts, Home Econs etc) during promotion exercise. I am informed that the Heads want to repeat lots of students so that they can get some payment of school fees and for other reasons best known to them.
3. AFFORDABILITY...... The catch phrase of some heads is " This is my style of administration " ...... Sorry to say that, it will be a violation of basic administrative principles if the school's command structure is not adhered to. The P.T.A and Old Students' Association are stakeholders hence their programmes and activities ought to be subsumed under the general administration of the school.For the avoidance of doubts, teachers are not to be elected to occupy any P.T.A executive position. This will help them to concentrate on their core business which is teaching.
A further interrogation by myself with empirical evidences reveals that students in the boarding house are not encouraged to attend dining. The cut in expenditure helps to preserve funds for who-knows-what.
Today much attention is on foodstuffs.
The Deputy Domestic Bursars ( Matrons) report to work with handbag but manage to leave school each day with sacks of foodstuff stolen from the school kitchen. Occasionally the Chief Accountant is given a bag of rice together with other foodstuffs. In fact structures in the schools must be allowed to work in order to curtail these levels of corruption.
In summary, what am saying is that all Headmasters and affected staff found to be engaging in the above act, should go on punitive transfer if not a nation wide reshuffling of Headmasters.
Nana aba ampa and Free S.H.S is here to stay!!!