Support the fee SHS welfare program

SHS Students GES File photo

Tue, 7 Mar 2017 Source: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

By Alhahi Alhasan Abdulai

PTAs, religious groups and education units and parents must support the fee SHS welfare program

The free Senior Secondary School Program which will begin in September with more than 300,000 first year day student’s intake is a happy turn of event in Ghana. It would definitely cost the tax payers a colossal sums of money which would go to the benefit of both comfortably affluent and less privileged parents. But it will be of benefit to the nation as thousands of the students are trained in various fields.

As happen in Scandinavian nations and Europe this socialist or welfare package which was conceived in the manifesto of the New Patriotic Party {NPP} since 2012 has received a huge approval by many people high and low in Ghana and abroad.

Although it is a program that will ensure rapid promotion of education for Ghanaian children especially the poor, it also brings along responsibility for all Ghanaians especially parents, parents and teacher associations, old students organizations, religious bodies, donor agencies and civil society bodies in education.

Since all parents of beneficiary students have their welfare at heart, it is required that they continue with the support they give their wards [as they do currently}, before they leave home for school. That is needed to compliment the support being given by the tax payers through the government. The students must be provided with decent uniforms and shoes and be fed adequately at home by their parents.

Those teachers who would cater for the students must also play their parts by providing them adequate tuition in school. The teachers also require support to be able to discharge their duties adequately. However, as they fight for their service conditions to be improved as they provide students with extra tuition, they must continue to show sympathy for the students by training them not only to pass exams but to grow into useful persons with good characters and good moral values.

This is what pertains in all the welfare programs across the world. Ghana is therefore pursuing the right path. As the program is to begin with first year students the continuing students must not feel cheated but forerunners whose juniors some of whom might be their own younger brothers and sisters, {whose free tuition would be savings for their families} and to continue to benefit from the program.

What is likely to enrich the program is the increase in tempo of the work of the parent teacher associations across the nation especially now that the government has taken off a huge burden {in school fees} from the parents. The associations must be permitted to raise funds to support school projects as most of them are doing currently.

However, since the parents consist of some poor single parents with some schools having to train orphans the associations must be moderate in levying parents. On the other hand, the rich parents can make heavy donations to boost the coffers of the associations.

In this respect the association must not apply strict rules of enforcing the collection of PTA dues as happens now. The old students’ associations of some of the schools in Ghana are doing quite well in raising funds to provide their old schools with dormitories, library dining halls and other amenities. Am sure they would not relent but continue with their good works, which go a long way to facilitate teaching and learning across the country.

The role of education units under Ghana Education Service have also been of help to the education system throughout the country in enticing students of various religious bodies as Muslims, Christians to pursue education. Since their roles have been beneficial, they must be supported to go ahead with their counselling and providing the right teachers and learning materials in our schools especially the senior high schools. Although the government will roll out the free SHS program the donor agencies, civil societies and religious bodies who owns schools would continue to monitor the progress of the program to be able to compliment the effort of the ministry of education.

Executive Director

eanfoworld for sustainable development


Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan
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