General News of Tue, 12 Sep 201742
Free SHS not free after all - Parents decry extortion by heads
Some parents have deplored what they say is the extortion by institution heads despite the coming into force of the promised free senior high school (SHS) education policy.
The parents who spoke to Joy News Tuesday said they are made to pay monies ranging from ¢10 to ¢30 or risk the registration of their wards.
"The free SHS is after all not free," an aggrieved father told Joy News' Ashanti Regional Correspondent, Erastus Asare Donkor.
The parent told the reporter aside the extortions by school heads, the items they are made to buy for their children cost more than what government has absorbed under the programme.
But "this is not an isolated case," Erastus said of the unapproved financial demands made on parents by heads of some senior high schools.
The reporter said since the enrollment exercises across the country Monday, parents in the Region continue to lament about monies charged from them.
Joy News' Brong Ahafo Regional Correspondent, Anas Sabit has also reported some schools in the Techiman South District are taking monies from parents.
He said some school authorities he spoke to explained the monies they are charging were not captured by the free SHS policy.
The headmaster of the Akumfi Ameyaw SHS in the district admitted to the reporter, he sanctioned the collection of the money because the school could not afford to buy files for students.
But District Chief Executive of the area, Peter Mensah has directed heads of schools who are extorting monies from parents to refund them or risk a hefty sanction.
To back his directive, the DCE has also filed an official complaint at the District Education Directorate over the matter.
The development is one of the few challenges some parents are facing since secondary school enrollment for the 2017/2018 academic year commenced.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has officially launched the free SHS at the West African Secondary School (WASS), with a call on Ghanaians to support the policy.
Per the policy, all fees approved by the Ghana Education Service Council for first-year students have been absorbed by the government, save Parent Teachers' Association (PTA) dues.
But some parents in the Brong Ahafo Region are dissatisfied they will have to pay some monies for the procurement of plastic chairs for schools when the directive is not coming from the government.
They believe some heads of schools are using dubious means to rake in money and have implored the Education Ministry to sanitise the system.