General News of Sun, 10 Sep 20179
Some schools yet to receive SHS funding despite Friday deadline
Some schools are yet to receive funding for the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy in spite of assurances by the government it will reflect in their accounts last Friday.
Joy News checks reveal that the heads of the schools, who have been constantly monitoring bank details of their institutions, are yet to receive the said amounts.
More than 30,0000 students are expected to benefit from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s flagship programme which kick starts on Tuesday, September 12.
The policy is fraught with problems currently with some disgruntled parents and guardians besieging the premises of the Education Ministry to express their frustration over the non-placement of their wards in their preferred schools.
Also, at the recent 55th Annual Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) in Ho in the Volta region, stakeholders asked the government to prepare a 'Free SHS Bible' for Heads of Schools.
The ‘Bible' they said will contain clear-cut written guidelines to ensure heads do not overstep their bounds in the implementation of the policy. Responding to this request, Deputy Minister for Education in charge of Tertiary Education Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum said although Ghana Education Service (GES) has distributed some manuals, CHASS has indicated that they needed something “more comprehensive and detailed to guide them.”
Last Friday, the Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei Asare confirmed that funds for the programme will be wired to the schools’ accounts by the close of business that day.
She told Joy News that the Ministry is waiting for the Ghana Education Service (GES) to alert them of the placements made to the 646,000 SHSs so they wire the funds to their accounts.
Abena Osei Asare said the Finance Ministry is working hard to ensure that 50 percent of the initial funds of ¢486 million for September to December has been provided to ensure the programme succeeds.
“We have spoken to the various banks concerned and we believe they will act immediately the money hits their accounts and inform the various SHSs,” she said.
She also assured that there is a reliable revenue stream to sustain the programme.
Explaining the delay, Acting Director General of GES, Prof. Kwasi Opoku Amankwa said the 20 percent of the Free SHS Money released by the Finance Ministry for the programme may take few days to reflect in the accounts of the various schools.
He told Joy News’ Hubert Mawuli Yevu-Agbi who caught up with him during the 55th Annual CHASS Conference that once the Finance Ministry has disbursed the money, it will definitely hit the account before schools reopen.
“Also, a lot of the things that they are going to buy, they are buying them on credit. That is what they have been doing always and the free SHS is not going to change anything,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Osei Adutwum says even though there are a few hitches in the process to roll out the programme, the Ministry is generally “close to the finish line” to begin what is largely the biggest educational intervention by the government.