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Free SHS; the hard truth must be told

Tue, 17 Dec 2019 Source: Bernard Tetteh Addico

During the mini “6th March” celebration at the black star square on Monday the 16th of September for the placement of schools to be resolved, I have heard officials of the Ministry of Education and GES trying to put blame on parents and student for not choosing the right schools making it difficult for the placement system to place right, this got me thinking because if I was in the same position I will choose 1st Class schools because of the level of infrastructure and Prestige available in such schools.

Is it a crime to pick 1st Class schools? No, because the system has made it in a way that we all have the liberty to choose the schools we want so why should I choose Krokompe Community Senior High school whiles I can choose a PRESEC or PREMPEH College, for this reason, we have these first-class schools with subscription in tens of thousands and the low-class schools lagging behind.

To solve this issue, there should be leveraged for people to choose these schools and that is why I am for the Progressive Free Senior high school starting with the day school instead of the wholesale method. This problem we are facing is not in isolation from the FSHS policy.

It is time the players in education consider going back to progressively free and give leverage to the local day schools and the 1st class schools should charge boarding fees so a poor student in Krokompe will not pass Krokompe SHS to choose Achimota because they are all free.

Some will make a case for equity but the people in black star square are dominated by student who went to Government JHS and are considered poor because the rich man daughter or son who went to Tema Parent, or SOS school has already been placed because he or she had a good grade while the poor man’s child is waiting for placement because by the time it got to aggregate 24, it was left with (with all due respect) Bimbilla SHS (Day) with more vacancy for student so he was placed at Bimbilla while he has stayed in Tema his whole life, if I was a parent I will reluctant to let my 14 years old go that far.

Let’s make the local day schools free to encourage the locals to choose a school in their area and charge boarding fees for the 1st class schools to give leverage to these schools.

The problem of equity can be solved through our local Municipal Assemblies where a student who performs well at the various government day schools, let’s say from Grade 06-10 will be flagged and given scholarships and be placed in these 1st Class schools with a scholarship from the assemblies. This will bring competition in the government schools knowing a student will be placed at a first-class school with scholarships.

The problem has never been the lack of schools but the problem has always been the overcrowding of the 1st class school by students and TVET schools should be encouraged to grow the local economy instead of having a backlog of unemployment with the business courses and Arts.

Columnist: Bernard Tetteh Addico