The Minority Spokesperson on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Inusah Fuseini is calling for the scrapping of the boarding system in public Senior High Schools (SHSs).
According to him, the system has outlived its usefulness and does not provide any more benefits to the country’s educational system.
Mr. Fuseini believes, “the boarding system has outlived its usefulness. It was conceived and implemented at the time we had a few secondary schools; when children had to travel long distances to access secondary school. Now the secondary school is everywhere. Indeed we even have community secondary schools which are nearby.”
Many SHSs in the country combine the boarding and day school options, but many prefer to be in the boarding school due to its perceived benefits.
The sustainability of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Free SHS Policy has been linked to the current boarding school system, forcing the government to adopt a double-track system.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Wednesday, the Tamale Central MP insisted that, “there is no justifiable reason we should have secondary schools.”
The legislator also wondered why the NPP would even implement the Free SHS with a boarding component adding that situation over burdens government’s expenditure.
“Why will you keep children together and feed them, why will you do that? You have the free education, and on top of it, you are feeding them. There is so much cost to the state that when you do a cost-benefit analysis, it doesn’t add any value”, he added.
Mr. Fuseini suggested saying, “make children in close proximity to the schools go on a daytime basis, so they [government] offer the free education by way of tuition. Free education doesn’t include feeding, but we have a feeding invariably to free education. The continuation of this boarding system allows students [to] travel long distances. I think the boarding school system has outlived its usefulness”, he stressed.
When asked if he would fight for legislation of his proposal, Mr. Fuseini revealed that he was already in talks with the appropriate stakeholders.
“I have discussed it with the Minister of Education, and he agrees with me and that they will explore the possibilities of looking at government’s boarding school system. It is not really something I can force down the throat of this government, but it is something I bring it up for them to consider or for my party to consider that we have a boarding system that has outlived its usefulness.”
Sustain free SHS with more day schools, not boarding – Patrick Awuah
President of Ashesi University, Patrick Awuah, has indicated that one of the best ways to sustain the government’s Free Senior High School programme is to focus on having more day schools instead of the boarding system.
Speaking on Citi TV’s current affairs program, the Point of View, Mr. Awuah said:”I think the boarding schools are serving an important purpose because now we do not have enough Senior High Schools but all new high schools that are built should be day schools, and they should be as close to communities as possible so it will be just a walking distance or a short bus drive away from the kids. If you do it that way, you have a much more sustainable system”.
We can’t scrap boarding from free SHS – Adutwum
Many have asked the government to cover only day students in the free SHS programme in a bid to sustain the social intervention initiative introduced in 2017.
But speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Deputy Minister for Education in charge of General Education, Yaw Osei Adutwum, said the government is not considering that option saying: “We felt that the boarding system is a fabric of our education so we did not consider changing it…and not all communities have day schools.”
He argued that a number of deprived students would suffer if such a move is adopted.
“All communities don’t have day schools. It’s not that simple. When you do that you are going to disadvantage those who cannot afford. If you look at Accra, the vast majority of students are in day schools. 76 percent of students in Accra are day students. And Accra schools do very well. Same thing cannot be said in other regions where the location or where the population is distributed does not lend itself to implementation of a very strong day programme”, he stated.