Report by: Ishmael Barfi
Alliance For Social Equity And Public Accountability (ASEPA) has revealed some corruption and mismanagement activities on government flagship programme, ‘Free Senior High School’.
According to the Think Tank, during it’s Nationwide survey in respect to the challenges facing the Free Senior High School program, three major challenges was identified that needs immediate attention from government.
Speaking to the media at its office in Accra, the Executive Director of ASEPA, Mr. Mensah Thompson explained that, these challenges have the tendencies of collapsing program in the near future.
Outlining some of the challenges, he indicated that, some headmasters of secondary schools are robbing the State through the programme by filling existing vacancy of students without the knowledge of authorities.
“These head of schools turns to fill the gab when students drop out from their respective programmes or changes their school during their second or third year of schooling”, he alleged.
Adding that, “these heads of secondary schools admit new students and these monies go into their personal pocket while the State continue to fund the old number of students recorded during admission”.
These activities he admitted are mostly found in the Greater Accra, Eastern and Bono Regions.
With regards to that, Mr. Thompson therefore called on government to take immediate steps to stop such acts in secondary schools.
Government Mr. Thompson revealed is paying huge sums of money to ghost students and urged the Ministry to take further steps to address the situation that could lead to the collapse of the FSHS programme.
Another challenge identified during the survey is the lack of a system in place to regulate the intake of students, hence a cut-off point.
The automatic of admission onto the programme he lamented is seriously affecting he coffers of the State.
“The wholesale of students onto the programme is not yielding the results”, he stressed.
For the programme to achieve it’s purpose, Mr. Mensah Thompson proposed that at least aggregate 30 should be the maximum requirement for admission into the FSHS programme.
For the failed candidates, he said they could be enrolled on a special TVET programme to learn a skills to enhance the human resource of the country.
“This is a scholarship program given to the brilliant but poor, and every scholarship has a cut–off point for the number of beneficiaries it has to fund”, he emphasized.
Adding “So if you are not brilliant you can still enjoy the programme through specialized skill training”, he explained.
“But the current situation under the programme where there is no cut off point is turning out quantity instead of quality at the end of the programme”, he asserted.
The Executive Director of ASEPA further went on to suggest that “those admitted and failed in their first year should be taken off the scheme hence their parents or guardians be made to pay the rest of the fees until their wards picks up and return onto the programme.
Touching on the over crowed senior high schools, he said, there is the need for government to engage private schools owners as to how they can be beneficiary of the Free Senior High School programme.
This he said would help in the decongestion of the already choked public schools under the FSHS programme.
“Government could partner the private schools by allowing them to admit some of these students to reduce the numbers into the fewer public schools that are already congested”, he suggested.
Such engagements he noted could curtail the collapse of the private schools which are also contributing to job creation in the teaching sector.
Mr. Mensah Thompson therefore charged government to investigate into the above mentioned challenges to strengthen and ensure the effectiveness of the programme.
He used the occasion to commend the Minister of Education, Mr. Adu Twum for his resilience efforts to institute a biometric data system to check some of the illegality activities under the FSHS programme.