Last week, this newspaper called on the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), to speak up, to save secondary schools from closure.
The free Senior High School (SHS), is for all intent and purpose a good policy which must be supported by all, but the way and manner it was hurriedly implemented, without the input of relevant stakeholders is the reason, why the policy, if not examined again, could fail.
There is no doubt that, lack of funds is affecting the smooth running of the schools. That is why we call on the government, to release funds, including all the arrears owed since last year.
According to starrfm.com.gh of Tuesday, January 28, 2020, Senior High Schools in the country risk closure over lack of funds and shortage of food.
Some headmasters who spoke to Starr News under the condition of anonymity, described the situation as “terrible”. One of them noted, “I had to feed students from my pocket from last week and this week”.
Another Headmaster lamented ” As we speak now, all First years, Green 2nd years and SHS 3 students are all in school but nothing has been paid as at now”.
Though the problem of untimely release of funds, as well as arrears owed secondary schools, is not new, the situation is made worse by the number of students that have been admitted since the introduction of the free SHS.
As a matter of urgency, we as a newspaper, call on the government to review this policy of late release of funds, which is affecting teaching and learning in the schools.
Another area of concern, is the lack of infrastructure, which has been necessitated by the introduction of double track and the government, though claims to be building classroom blocks, it is still nothing much to write home about.
Education is key to the development of a people and a country can only grow and be competitive in a world that has shrunk to a global village, when we establish a robust education base that will ensure that, both funds, infrastructure, learning materials, as well as the teaching and non-teaching staff, are given the needed attention.
Scientific studies have shown a firm link between the environment and learning. Children raised in squalor, whose teachers are ill-motivated and who are constrained by circumstances not to venture to dream big, can never compete with those raised properly in well-equipped and adequately staffed schools.
CHASS, must begin to let their voice be heard, they are the most important stakeholders and their role cannot be overemphasized, the annual ritual where they meet and murmur at their conference, without issuing any communiqué, must stop.