General News of Wed, 20 Sep 201745

Free SHS students to live on their own after boarding status snub

Many first-year students of Senior High Schools (SHS) in the Ashanti region have been left on their own in private hostels after they failed to secure boarding status.

Joy News’ Erastus Asare Donkor reports that school authorities are also denying some of them access to school facilities for evening preps on grounds they are day students.

School heads say they will have nothing to do with hostel issues for fear of being sanctioned, following the introduction of Free SHS programme.

A week after newly-admitted students reported on the various campuses, visibly worried parents loitre school compounds with their children, still looking for solutions to accommodation challenges.

Christian Yeboah, 15, from Alajo in Accra was placed in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) SHS in Kumasi, however, the school cannot provide him accommodation on campus.

According to the school authorities, only 150 out of 500 first year male students can have access to boarding facilities.

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Yeboah is forced to put up in a private hostel a little over a mile from campus to live on his own, unsupervised and feeds himself, unlike some of his colleagues.

Above all, he cannot attend evening studies in the school “because they consider us as day students and the security men have been sacking us.

“We have told the headmistress to get a teacher for us so that we can have our own preps here,” he explained.

Although the facility which houses the students was initially earmarked to house students, especially from outside the Region for the sake of supervision, school authorities abandoned the idea.

They have washed their hands off arranging private accommodation for students like Yeboah due to fear of being sanctioned by the Ghana Education Service (GES).

A parent, like many others, is unhappy her 15-year-old son will have to stay all by himself in a private hostel. “As a parent, renting a hostel for my child is a scary thought because you don’t know what they would be engaged in without you around,” she told Joy News.

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The cost of hiring hostel accommodation ranges between ¢300 and ¢600 per head for a term in rooms with the capacity to take up to 60 students in some cases.

Orientation has begun for first-year students in many of the schools but that has no meaning to some parents and their wards as they want to settle the accommodation issue.

During a visit to St. Monica’s SHS at Asante Mampong, some frustrated parents from outside the Region could be seen carrying their children's luggage around in search of accommodation.

They had been lodging in guest houses, awaiting a decision by the school to adopt a facility to house the students for a fee.

It is anticipated the GES will give the go-ahead for school heads to find alternative accommodation and supervise the private hostels.

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