New students reporting to second cycle institutions under the government’s Free SHS policy in the Upper East Region are expected to report along with torchlights, lightbulbs, boxes of temporary makers, reams of A4 sheets among others, the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools has confirmed to A1 Radio’s Mark Smith on the Day Break Upper East Show today, Wednesday, March 1, 2023.
In prospectuses cited by this website, students were expected to purchase their own uniforms when in the past, the government insisted that the cost of uniforms be absorbed under the Free Senior High School policy.
Additionally, students are expected to purchase a box of whiteboard markers each, a ream of A4 sheets, energy-saving bulbs, a litre of PowerZone and powdered soap each, torch lights, and two batteries.
When contacted, the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) explained that these additions have been made to allow the schools systems run effectively. While there is a general list of items students would have to procure, some peculiar items would have to be added to lists of schools in the Upper East Region for specific reasons.
Richard Akumbasi, the Upper East Regional President of the Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) said, “You know there is a general basic requirement and there are some that are school specific. [There are] some schools that may need some specific items, peculiar to them. For example, if it is a mission school and they are demanding a Bible, you will understand that because of the peculiarity of that school, you would definitely need a Bible. We have a common prospectus that runs through the entire schools [in the region]. This was discussed and sent to the Director-General for approval. All the heads have been schooled on that. We have told every head not to stray from what has been generally agreed upon.”
“Recently we had some challenges with one or two items and I am sure that in due course, we would come to a conclusion. As far as the Upper East Region is concerned, we agreed and sent it to the Director-General,” he said.
While these issues have been added to the prospectus of some schools, they remain a contentious issue among heads of schools.
“Those are the issues that I am saying is in contention and we are discussing them. We needed to include them. If you teach without examining the children, the teaching would not be meaningful. We realised that almost all the schools have challenges. Look, we started the year with a reamm of paper being Ghc25, and this rose to Ghc75 and even in some areas, Ghc80. Even if the government were to pay what they owe us, we can’t even buy the rim of the papers in the quantities that we require. In fact for the Form 3s, we have 2 or 3 mocks. The more mock exams they write, the better they are prepared for the final exam. And so if you don’t have the stationery to do and you wait and conduct only one mock, which may not even be standard if you do not have the required number of materials to conduct, at the end of the day, the results would not be good and the blame comes back to we the heads again. Answer booklet is a very serious problem if you look at the beginning of the year, what the suppliers were prepared to give. The price has more than quadrupled, and we do not even know how to manage that,” he said.
According to Mr. Akumbasi, before the decision to include some materials that would not normally have been included, some parents were consulted through established parent associations.
Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana