The National Chairman of the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA), Mr. Christian Akin, has said that the Free Senior High School program has become burdensome requiring parents to step out of the insulation from fee-paying and pay up something to help.
Mr. Akin made the call at an induction ceremony for new members at the Awudome Senior High School in Tsito in the Ho West District of the Volta Region.
“Our challenge is the Free SHS, school heads and Management have been complaining about the lack of furniture, lack of infrastructure among others, but the student population keeps increasing.
“We are appealing to you the parents to assist the schools in these difficult times,” Mr. Akin said in Ewe.
Before him, the Secretary of the Awudome SHS PTA, Francis Yasekre had implored parents to contribute Ghc200 each so the school can complete a larger dining hall whose construction stalled due to lack of funds.
Again, the larger dining hall had become necessary because the influx of students under the Free SHS program has meant that the existing dining hall cannot accommodate all the students.
“If we were to use the dining hall which will not even accommodate us, you will see our students eating under this scorching sun. The same thing will happen when the rain begins to fall.
“Oh, our diamond students we can’t continue this way. Therefore, Executive thought it wise that, as we began already with second-year students, Ghc200 for that project, and we don’t intend to bother you this batch about any other project so far as PTA projects are concerned,” he said.
He adds, “Let us put together our resources and put a roof on that building to make that place comfortable for our children.”
The pleas by the two may earn them threats from the government, it is a well-known secret that teachers and PTA heads are afraid to speak publicly about the burdensomeness of Free SHS because when they do, they are either threatened or transferred.
The Akufo-Addo government has been touting Free SHS as a masterstroke but the policy has bedeviled schools with infrastructural challenges, increasingly, forcing schools to call on parents to pay fees secretly.