The Headmistress of OLA Senior High School (SHS) in Ho, Benedicta Afesi, has expressed dissatisfaction with the way in which parents have dumped their children who are not boarders on her.
According to Ms Afesi, out of the 650 first-year students placed in the school under the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS), 200 were not given boarding status.
However, almost all the 200 students do not reside in the region which has become a major problem for the school.
“The parents deliberately left their children in my care and the situation is giving me sleepless nights, since I don’t know what to do with them,” she said.
She made the revelation when the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu led government delegation to monitor selected schools in the region to assess the implementation of the free SHS policy.
They toured OLA Girls SHS, Mawuko Girls SHS, Hohoe E.P SHS and St Mary’s Boys SHS and Junior Seminary, Lolobi.
Madam Afesi admitted that although the school gave over 650 students boarding status, it requested for 450 students to ease congestion in the school.
“We will have to employ the same strategy used the previous year to accommodate all 650 students who were given boarding status.”
She therefore pleaded with Mr. Amewu to inform the Education Ministry of their challenges and increase their financial allocation to surmount the challenges.
“We also call for the completion of a 12-unit classroom block, which is about 70% complete to accommodate the students or else a portion of the assembly hall will have to be used as classroom, she disclosed.
At Mawuko Girls SHS, the Assistant Headmaster, Delight Nyamuame, said the school has facilities for 400 students with a 180-capacity private hostel facility outside the school.
This, he said, was not adequate to comfortably accommodate the 630 students placed in the school under the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS.
“Secondly, although the school has about 32 classrooms, with deficit of 13 classes so uncompleted structures, the dining hall and a garage will accommodate the rest.
He called on the authorities to immediately complete a-200-student capacity dormitory abandoned for several years.
Mr Nyamuame also called for the construction of 13 permanent classrooms, three makeshift classrooms, as well as a staff bungalow for at least 10 to 20 teachers.
A parent, Mrs Catherine Asante from Asuom in the Eastern Region, was excited about the implementation of free SHS policy.
“But I am unhappy that the school is asking my daughter, Gertrude Asantewaa, to cut off her braids in violation of the dictates of their church, Spoken Word Ministry.
At the Hohoe EP SHS (HEPSS), Dr Cephas Edusei was elated that the students’ population had increased from about 1,300 to over 2,000.
He confirmed that the school’s account had been credited with about GHC118,000, the first tranche of money for the free SHS policy.
He said a recent rainstorm ripped off the roofs of the boys’ dormitory and their washroom.
He also appealed for the completion of a 12-unit classroom block, which is about 80% complete, an 18-unit classroom block and a 12-unit boys’ dormitory.
According to him, the implementation of the free SHS policy has alleviated the plight of both schools and parents.
“The schools in the past used to incur debts from students who were unable to pay their fees while less endowed parents on the other hand had a huge burden to give their children secondary education. Even if the Nana Addo government does nothing else for Ghanaians, free SHS is enough.”
At St Mary’s Boys Senior High and Minor Seminary (SMASS), Mr. Amewu expressed worry that such a good school had numerous abandoned projects.
The Assistant Headmaster in-charge of Academics, John Tsetse, noted that due to inadequate space, they would transform five classrooms into dormitories.
The two heads also complained bitterly about accommodation for teachers and pleaded with John Peter Amewu, an alumnus of the school, to forward their grievances to the appropriate quarters to curb congestion.
The Lands Minister appealed to the heads of schools, teachers, non-teaching staff and students to support the policy.
He warned against subtle attempts by heads of schools to send wrong signals in order to sabotage the policy.