General News of 2014-01-14

83 SHSs delay reopening due to lack of feeding grant

All the 83 Senior High Schools (SHSs) in the three regions of northern Ghana have partially re-opened by admitting only final-year students.
The inability of the SHSs to admit all students on the re-opening day is as a result of the non-payment of two terms’ feeding subsidies owed them by the government.
The affected schools include: 44 in the Northern Region, 23 in the Upper East Region and 16 in the Upper West Region.
In a publication last week, the Daily Graphic reported the possible shutdown of SHSs in the northern regions, following the delay in the payment of their feeding subsidies.
However, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Seth Tekper, has given an assurance that the arrears would be paid within two weeks.
He assured the public of the commitment of the government to provide quality education at all levels of education.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Northern Regional Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), Alhaji Tahiru Abdul-Rahmen Mahama, said the schools were unable to admit both the form one and form two students due to the lack of funds to cater for their feeding.
He also said the schools could only resume fully when the feeding subsidies owed them had been paid, adding, “we just can’t afford to feed all the students and we have done our best to admit only the form three students for now since they have an impending exam to write”.
Alhaji Mahama stated that the schools had made certain arrangements to cater for the form three students and pleaded with the government to immediately release funds to the Scholarship Secretariat for onward disbursement to the schools.
According to Alhaji Mahama, all the SHSs in the three regions would fully resume when government pays the feeding arrears owed them.
The acting Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr Charles Aheto-Tsegah, told the Daily Graphic that the Ministry of Finance had assured the GES that all the subsidies owed the SHSs would be paid in two weeks.
“I am currently in the Northern Region to dialogue with all stakeholders to ensure that all schools fully resume academic work at all levels,” he said.
According to Mr Tsegah, the GES is not directly responsible for the payment of feeding subsidies to the SHSs, but has, through several meetings with the Ministry of Finance, requested the payment of the subsidies.