The Upper East Regional Chapter of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), is appealing to the government to settle boarding grants for the 2017/2018 academic year which is in arrears of two terms, to enable them reopen and run the schools for the 2018/2019 academic year.
According to CHASS, boarding grants meant for those in form three and two of last academic year had to be used to feed the first batch of students under the Free SHS Policy, due to delays in the disbursement of money meant to run the policy in the schools.
Briefing the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari on the preparedness of heads of senior high schools in the region towards the implementation of the double track system in Bolgatanga, the Chairperson of CHASS, Francisca Yizura, indicated that although the schools were prepared, government needed to settle the outstanding arrears to ensure the smooth implementation of the new system.
“Our boarding grants are in arrears of two terms for the 2017/2018 academic year and that is what has helped us to implement the free SHS because, with the new system, the food items and monies for ingredients were not released early so we used those grants to cater for the free SHS students”.
“We are our on knees begging if government can settle the arrears so that what we took from the then SHS three’s and two’s to feed the first year students under the free SHS can be used to solve those problems and enable us to reopen and manage the schools”.
Mad. Yizura commended government for the implementation of the free SHS policy.
Francisca Yizura also appealed to the government to address issues of insufficient furniture, inadequate non-teaching staff and uncompleted structures within the schools to support the double track system.
“We have challenges with classroom and dining furniture, dormitory beds as well as abandoned structures and some structures completed but not handed over to the schools. We are using temporal cooks, pantry men and watch men. How do we pay them, if care is not taken, some of the kitchens will start closing down” she warned.
CHASS ready to implement Double track system
Mad. Yizura said heads of senior high schools in the region were ever ready to successfully implement the Double Track system under the Free Senior High School programme beginning this 2018/2019 academic year.
The introduction of a temporary double track system in the country’s second cycle education is to mitigate the infrastructure and furniture challenges in the schools as a huge number of students prepare to enroll under the Free Senior high school programme.
“We implement policies from the Ministry of Education and so we are prepared and we are ready for the task. We will do whatever it takes for the double track system to be implemented. And on the Free SHS, the programme is very good. Students will come and we don’t have to chase them for school fees and if the food items and monies for the perishable items come on time, the best for all of us. We promise that we will cooperate so that government policies will succeed”.
Rockson Bukari said government is committed to addressing the challenges confronting the free SHS policy progressively.
He urged them to give their best for the policy to succeed.