Their refrain has been that the government should permit the rich to pay for the cost of their wards’ education. Quite strangely, those advocating the review including the flagbearer of the NDC, John Mahama have not been able to define the kind of review they envisage. When the government has made it clear that no school head should collect money from parents, some heads of schools defied this directive and demanded money, teasing supporters of the policy that the policy is not truly free.
Some domestic bursars in the early days of the implementation of the policy diverted food items meant for the students. For the past few years, these school administrators suppressed their dislike for the policy, but this year some of the school heads decided by publicly charging unauthorised fees in their show of impunity against the government free education policy. By the last count, eleven headmasters and headmistresses have been interdicted for their disregard for the policy on admissions. We think the Ghana Education Service (GES) has awoken from its slumber.
It is our expectation that the GES would crack the whip hard enough to deter others like the 11 culprits, some of whom must be working with some politicians to derail the gains of the free SHS. These enemies of the state must not be allowed to have their way to torpedo the free SHS to churn out a more skilful labour force and discerning population.
It has not all been rosy so far, neither is it that of gloom and doom, but the results are very remarkable. What is needed is constant scrutiny of the policy to bring out the best for our youth and address the challenges of double track, overcrowding in the classrooms and dormitories as well as the feeding blues to avoid the situation where John Mahama would describe their menu as fit for the dogs.
There is a betrayal of trust by these heads cited for alleged corruption in the admission of first year students to the senior high schools under the government’s flagship free senior high school policy.
They have thus lost the moral grounds to continue as headmasters and headmistresses. They have demonstrated that they cannot work with the government to implement the policy. These are the serpents undermining the free SHS policy. These heads have been exposed and must be shown the exit.
Again, we are worried about the loud silence of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) about this gargantuan scandal by some of its members who see the policy as a way to block their attempt of milking parents. We have always held the view that those opposed to the policy like the NDC have been teaming up with other nation wreckers to derail the free SHS programme.
A couple of days ago, one of the tabloids with connection to the NDC concluded that the impunity of these heads has spelt doom for the policy as the free SHS is collapsing. That has been the prayer of the NDC and their collaborators, but their wishful thinking would not materialise under the watch of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
This is where we want to know the role of the Schools Management Committees (SMCs) under the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). Mr. President of the Republic, we wish to remind you that most of your Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) are not working because if they are, they would have picked early warning signals about this admission scandal among some of the school heads.
Mr. President, the time is long overdue to crack the whip and fire some of these “lazy” MMDCEs. And we worry also about the monitoring and evaluation role of the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development.