In the wake of 2016 electioneering campaign, one of the flagship policies that was on the New Patriotic Party’s campaign platform was the free senior high school policy which brought up arguments, not just among political parties, but the Ghanaian populace as to whether it can be implemented or not .
Fortunately, the New Patriotic Party won the 2016 elections and had the opportunity to implement the policy for the 2017/2018 students entering Senior High School.
Every policy that is being implemented for the first time does not go down without any challenges and the free senior high school policy was not an exception.
Ghanacrusader.com takes a look at six controversies that have characterized the Free Senior High school policy.
Although enrolment in most government senior high schools is characterized by such rush, this academic year’s rush doubled since parents whose children were admitted into the schools could not wait to benefit from such policy .Though they were frustrated by long queue’s of other parents also seeking the same thing for their wards, they waited patiently for their turn.
Complains from Head of schools
The Second situation that generated controversy is the headmasters and headmistress complaining due to high population of students.
Many of them complained that, their already poor facilities are being stretched so the government should reduce their admission intake. This led to the demotion of the headmaster of the La Presbyterian Senior High School, Samuel Salamat and head master of Aggrey Memorial AME Zion senior high school as well as many others.
The third instance that generated controversy was the rippling effect of the high admission intake that caused the congestion in the various schools, thus putting pressure on the facilities of the various second cycle schools, to the extent of causing accommodation problems in the schools.
If you are a parent and do not get there on time, your ward might not get to stay in the boarding house.
The fourth instance that has generated controversy is the issue of funding.
When the policy started all the schools received only 20% of the amount and this caused the headmasters and headmistresses of the various second cycle schools to complain, saying that they do not have funds in their coffers.
Some heads of schools even threatened to close the schools down because of that .
Stealing foodstuffs meant for the school
Another situation that generated controversy for this policy was when some school matrons connived with some of the school authorities to steal foodstuffs meant to be cooked for the students, and a classical example is what happened at the Ghana Secondary School in Koforidua, Eastern Region, where the matron was alleged to have sold foodstuff meant to be cooked for the students.
The health situation caused by meningitis also added up to controversies under the free senior high school policy as most Ghanaians and the opposition blamed the situation on the congestion in the schools .
The HI N1 swine flu also caused problems apart from the dangerous meningitis killing 4 students recently at the Kumasi Academy Senior high schools.
These are but a few controversies that have characterized the flagship Senior High School policy.
Even though it is a good initiative, the government needs to do more to improve its implementation.