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13.09.2005 General News

Ministry to correct shift system in schools

GNA

Accra, Sept. 13, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports, on Tuesday said the shift system being run in schools was encouraging truancy among pupils and the Ministry would take steps to correct it to enable as many children as possible to attend classes during the morning hours.

"For the first three years we will have infrastructure problem but as time goes on we will take time and put things in place to allow every child to be in school at the same time."

Mr Osafo-Maafo was speaking to teachers and parents during an inspection tour to the District Assembly (D/A) One and D/A Two Basic Schools at Amasaman; Nii Otto Kwame III and Ofankor D/A Two Primary schools in the Ga District.

It was also to mark "My First Day at School" programme aimed at welcoming class one pupils to school.

The 2005-2006 academic year began on Tuesday with effective implementation of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme and the capitation grant policy for pupils in the basic schools.

The tour was also to find out how schools were implementing the FCUBE programme and the capitation grant policy to parents. Sweets, biscuits and visors were given to the new comers.

This is to allay any fears about payment of schools fees by parents so as to allow many children of six years and above to be enrolled in primary one.

Mr Osafo-Maafo said school structures would have to be expanded to accommodate the number of children in the area.

At each school, Mr Osafo-Maafo reminded parents that they were not to pay any school fees whatsoever adding that Parent Teacher Association (PTA) levies were not compulsory but optional to parents. "It is not the duty of PTA to build or the put up any structure in any school; they could only assist government to expand the number of classrooms. However, it should not to depriving any child from being enrolled."

Mr Osafo-Maafo said 50 per cent of the grant would be released to cater for the number of children enrolled last year because the right number of children that would be enrolled was yet to be determined. He said the Ministry would be very sure about the number of pupils by early November and pay the difference.

At the Amasaman D/A primary, 80 children were going through the enrolment procedure but as at the time of the visit 40 had been registered. At Ofankor D/A Two Primary 44 pupils out of an expected 55 had been enrolled while at Nii Otto had registered 14 pupils event though 44 could be accommodated.

Mr Osafo-Maafo told the parents that the Government was taking care of the school fees and would provide textbooks. All that they had to do was to provide the pupils with uniforms.

He thanked the parents for coming with their children and urged them to ensure that the children completed their education. He promised to buy school uniform for one 11-year old pupil, who dropped from school because of the parents' inability to pay fees and buy uniforms and who had now re-enrolled.

Mrs Victoria Opoku, District Director of Education, said Ofankor D/A had a large catchment area and that was why they ran the shift system. She said pupils from Taifa, Tantra Hill and Pokuase attended Ofankor D/A School, which was the only public school in the area. She said because of the limited infrastructure many children were still not enrolled in schools in the area, adding that the provision of more classrooms would enable the district to absorb those children who were still outside the classroom. 13 Sept. 05

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