Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior High Schools (CHASS) has called for a review of the government’s Free Senior High School policy.
At the 5th Annual Conference of CHASS which was held at the Wesley Girls Senior High School, Cape Coast, the Conference observed that Free SHS has become a stumbling block to school administration in many respects, including the active involvement and resourcefulness of the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) of schools.
“If a policy is in place and for the past three years and it is not working, then we need to take another look at it,” president of the Conference, Yakub Abubaka said.
The call from the heads of schools is significant as it shows how the government’s flowery claims about Free SHS, which Nana Akufo-Addo is counting on for re-election in December is actually ruining schools.
According to CHASS, the program has relegated the involvement of PTAs in school administration, a thing has traditionally helped schools to come up with self-help programs.
Consequently, because the PTAs are no longer active, schools where government is unable to complete classroom blocks have been unable to complete them as the PTAs and the help they offer have been relegated to the back burner.
Mr. Yakubu Abubakar strongly urged for the government to reverse the program to restore sanity to high school education in Ghana.
“The observation of the Conference is that PTA activities are gradually dying in our schools. Hitherto, the PTAs were playing very significant roles in our schools,” he said.
He added, “at present, even though there are delays in release of funds, schools do not have the leverage like PTAs to assist them and so making the effective administration of schools problematic.”
The Free SHS is a rushed program of the current government which refused to continue a progressive implementation of the program by the erstwhile Mahama Administration.
The Mahama Administration had started Free SHS as a targeted scholarship scheme for brilliant but needy students in the various schools with plans to gradually expand it to cover all students. However, immediately the Mahama government lost power to the Akufo-Addo government, the new President and his Vice rushed to implement an expansion of the program for all students without even piloting it.
The result is the reintroduction of a shift system in Senior High Schools nationwide with students taking turns to go to school in what has been derogatorily described as the traffic light system.