According to CHASS, the policy which was implemented three years ago has resulted in the collapse of Parent Teachers Associations (PTA) in schools across the country adding that the programme is responsible for many abandoned projects and support for schools.
Yakubu Abubakar, the President of CHASS speaking at the 5th annual conference of CHASS at Wesley Girls SHS at Cape Cape in the Central Region said the Ghana Education Service (GES) and other relevant stakeholders must review the policy to enable school authorities to discharge their duties effectively.
He said: “Our observation over the period is that PTA activities are gradually dying in our schools. Hitherto, the PTAs were playing very significant roles in our schools. If a policy is in place and for the past three years it is not working then it needs to be relooked at. No wonder you go to many schools and you see PTA abandoned projects at various levels.
“At present even though there are delays in the release of funds, schools do not have the leverage like PTA to assist them and so making the effective administration of schools problematic. After three years of the implementation of the Free SHS policy, CHASS is calling for a review of the policy.”
Deputy Minister of Education disagrees
But the Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, disagreed and said such a review will mean a re-introduction of levies that would defeat the purpose of the Free SHS programme.
He said “To say that the government should somehow allow you [CHASS] to levy your own fees against parents in an era of free senior high school is what I don’t understand. I really don’t understand the point in saying that senior high school is free, the government has absorbed fees, the government is even paying development levies, which is even supposed to be used for school construction and other infrastructure development that the school wants to undertake and yet we are still asking the government to allow us to levy the students, no!”
“That is not part of what free senior high school should be about. On the other hand, if you have a group of parents, or parents of any school, who are saying that, can we support our school, yes, of course, they can support their school, they can voluntarily donate to support their school in the same way that old students do but cannot allow the introduction of fees through the back door and then the results of that will be, students who cannot pay those fees will not be allowed to attend school, that will defeat the purpose of free senior high school, which has alleviated the suffering of the poor in this country, and that is not what the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and free senior high school should be about,” he added.
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