The Vice-chairman of Parliament’s Education Committee, Dr Prince Armah, has asked teachers and headteachers not to shy away from voicing their respective schools’ challenges under the Free SHS policy.
Speaking to JoyNews Kwesi Parker-Wilson, he stated that the issues raised are peculiar to their schools; thus, there will not be an improvement if the Education Service or the Ministry’s attention are not brought to it.
Dr Armah said that he understands that accountability can be a challenge for the education system, but identifying the problems schools face will help authorities address them.
“I think that some of the concerns that I have heard are more over-generalisation, and you cannot review policy based on over-generalisation. You need to be very specific in terms of what are the issues confronting free senior High School. There has always been a review in the process.”
“Directors of Ghana Education Service (GES) and the ministry, I am sure have meetings with the heads of the institutions, and clearly there are some kinds of feedback sessions. These sessions provide opportunities to address the problems that they have.”
His comment comes at the back of parents and school heads expressing concerns over challenges relating to implementing Free SHS policy on the Super Morning Show, Tuesday, May 25.
Among other things, they highlighted the lack of space creating congestion and a reduction in contact hours affecting teaching and learning.
A headmaster who also called in on the show anonymously raised concerns over the delay in releasing funds for managing Senior High Schools under the free SHS policy.
He said the situation creates inconveniences, thus affecting the smooth running of senior high schools across the country. Other stakeholders said they were concerned about voicing their problems for fear of getting fired from their position.
According to parents, who called on the show, due to the lapses in the policy’s rollout, paying fees is a better option than free SHS in its current state.
However, Dr Armah believes that it is unfair to assume the Free SHS policy is not a good programme because of the issues which are specific to some schools.
“If you are a stakeholder, you have an understanding that there are some specific issues that you think should be looked at that there is no problem with that.”
He, however, disagreed with the assertion that Free SHS has reduced the quality of education, stating that even with the existence of Covid-19, the students who graduated in 2020 produced “high” results.
He said unlike opinions, contact hours have also been increased to improve teaching and learning.
“The fact that somebody has to stay in the house for three months has nothing to do with contact hours. Some people run sandwich programs, and some people do regular programs, but yet all of them obtain the same qualification because the contact hours are maintained.”
On congestion, he said that the authorities need to know these schools so government can provide for them a good learning environment.
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