Some Heads of Senior High Schools in the Eastern region are becoming increasingly despondent over the lingering challenges of the free Senior High School policy after four years of implementation.
Some of the Heads believe the delay in the release of funds including feeding grants and supplies as well as infrastructural challenges associated with the policy continue to affect the quality of academic work which must be looked into and addressed.
The Headmaster for Asamankese Senior High School (ASASCO) Rev. Samuel Manphasis Adjei Munyuhitum for instance told the media Tuesday that, managing the school has become extremely difficult due to financial challenges.
“The concern we have is the inability of funds to be released for the Free Senior high school program to run successfully. As we speak we have started the second semester for form three. Recurrent expenditure for the first semester has not been paid. Even the feeding aspect of it only 25% came the first time, another 25% and that is all.”
He added the “first-year students have come, they’ve spent 14 days not a pesewa. So for how long can we continue to have successful teaching and learning outcomes when we don’t have the funds to purchase the little things like maker boards and teaching and learning materials in the classrooms. For how long can we continue and expect the best from the system. It is only an appeal that whoever is concerned, whoever has the power to release the funds should ensure that the schools have the funds “.
On infrastructural challenges, the Headmaster stressed that management of the school has been forced to covert a seven-unit classroom block into a girls dormitory due to failure by governments to complete a girls dormitory block started in 2008.
“The first challenge that we have is the girl’s dormitory block that has been abandoned since 2008 till today the contractor has not come back. It has reached the roofing level. My concern is that let us roof it so that the students can benefit from the structure, and to me, it is a huge concern. Taxpayers money-wasting.”
He said the situation has resulted in congestion in classrooms and dormitories.
“So you see that the maybe some sort of congestion there and the same time the class sizes that we could reduce to about 35 students, we are now compelled to put 50 in a class.”
Random checks from some Senior High Schools in the Eastern region established similar challenges expressed by the heads of the schools who spoke under conditions of anonymity.
The undue delay in the release of funds for the schools was a common worry expressed as some say they resort to borrowing to run the schools.