Education Minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has justified the decision of the Ministry to sack some heads of Senior High Schools and interdict others.
Their actions, according to the Minister was necessitated by the decision of these heads of Second Cycle institutions to impose some fees on first-year students and in some cases turn students away without consulting the Ministry.
A visibly displeased Minister accused some of these heads of political bias hence their desire to create stumbling blocks for the smooth implementation of the Free SHS policy.
“Two headmasters have been sacked and 9 interdicted for flouting government policy on free SHS” the minister admitted but indicated that the Ministry’s ability to detect these illegalities was because “the public has voted in masses for Free SHS. So when they now that the only charge that’s supposed to be on the school bill is GHC5 PTA and that isn’t enough basis for you to sack any student on. So when students come to your school and all of a sudden you say you turned 400 students away, I will call you to Accra” he stressed
He was furious that some heads decide to go against the implementation guidelines explaining that “when we know we’ve brought you implementation guidelines that we submitted to all heads, and you decide to flout it by charging for the uniforms that we are going to pay for, you charge students GHC300 in Tamale, in Wa, forgetting that the most poverty stricken areas are in Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Central regions, so Agona Headmistress has been sacked”
He entreated the heads of the various institutions to focus on delivering and the performance of the schools noting that government wants to concentrate on the performance of schools.
The Free Senior High School program is the flagship education program by the new government that seeks increase access to Secondary Education by removing the burden of paying fees from parents.
Under the policy, government would foot all bills including feeding fees, tuition fees and all other charges.
Over 420,000 eligible students are expected to benefit from the programme this academic year.