General News of 2014-03-10

Chief wants free SHS programme piloted

The Kontihene of the Ejura Traditional Area, Nana Odeasempa Antwi, has called on the government to pilot the free senior high school programme in at least five out of the 10 regions to evaluate how effective the programme will be.

He said the pilot programme should be under strict supervision and monitoring to ascertain the challenges that might arise before the nationwide implementation.

In a statement, he said although the government was only evoking a constitutional provision, it should be done in a way that would make the policy stand the test of time.

The raging debate should not be who proposed the free SHS first or which political party manifesto captured it first, because the resource for its implementation would be borne by the taxpayer.

Nana Antwi said the success of the programme would reduce a lot of hardship on parents who had to spend sleepless nights thinking of how to get their children through secondary education.

He said the political twist to the debate was ignoring a useful suggestion.

He said the pilot programme would be an effective means to measure the success or otherwise of the programme.

“With the current situation, where some senior high schools are facing challenges with accommodation, science and ICT laboratories, and feeding grants being in arrears for years, it will be suicidal for the government to go on with the nationwide implementation without first piloting it,” Nana Antwi said.

The Kontihene said the pilot programme would give the government a fair idea of the actual cost, forecast the effectiveness of the programme and even project how the nationwide implementation would be.

He said a gradual approach would be more beneficial to the success of the programme.

Nana Antwi said as the government prepared to roll out the free SHS programme, accommodation for teachers should be a key component in the construction of the senior high schools across the country.

He stated that the current situation where teachers were grappling with accommodation, with some walking long distances to get to their schools, was not helping effective teaching and learning.