The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) has put out some concerns with the implementation of the ruling NPP’s free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
PIAC in a report, undertaken in 2018 and 2019, has indicated substantial challenges inhibiting the effective implementation and quality of the programme, despite the improved access to second-cycle education currently.
PIAC in its report observed the problem of poor quality, unwholesomeness and delays of supplies among others.
According to PIAC, the lack of advice to recipient schools on the value of goods supplied to schools wreaks corruption insisting lack of transparency provides cover for cost manipulation.
Also the report noted that “Some schools experience delays in receipt of funds, sometimes transferred in tranches within or across terms. About 85 percent of the schools visited had to rely on the funds of the non-free SHS students to cater for all streams of students until funds are disbursed from the Free SHS Secretariat. If this is not addressed, it will impact negatively on the running of the schools when the programme runs a full stream”
PIAC also monitored that, dumping of poor-grade students in schools is wide-spread, particularly in the deprived schools as a result of the non-application of the cut-off grades.
The Committee, therefore, encouraged that:
- Vigilance on the part of school authorities in monitoring the quality of supplies, such as inspecting the expiry dates among others. This will prevent the suppliers from using the schools as dumping grounds.
- In order to avoid the recurrence of over and undersupply of food items, supply of food items by the Buffer Stock Company should be based on orders from the schools.
- Supply contracts for uniforms and house vests should be given out early enough to forestall delays.
- The Committee strongly recommends full transparency in the delivery of supplies to the schools and in particular the Buffer Stock Company must ensure that all goods supplied are accompanied by advice on the value and quantity of the goods.
- Cut-off grades (thresholds) for admitting students should be restored, as students with poor grades struggle with subjects during the course of the term. The Ghana Education Service should pay more attention to the basic schools to improve the quality of students for the second cycle schools.
- Government must ensure that disbursements to the schools are done expeditiously as the non-free SHS students phase out, to avoid closure of the schools and disruptions to the academic calendar.
- Technical and Vocational Schools should be adequately resourced with the necessary equipment and teaching materials.
- Government must expedite action on the provision of infrastructure facilities to end the double-track system, extend contact hours, and relieve staff of the attendant extra pressures.
- The Committee welcomes the streamlining of the guidelines on the operations of the PTAs where Parents Associations are now allowed to operate as voluntary associations outside the control of the school.
Full report published below