Parents whose wards gained admission to Senior High Schools (SHS) for the 2023 academic year have expressed their displeasure with the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government’s overhyped Free Senior High School Policy.
According to the enraged parents, it would have been better and cheaper if SHS was not free compared to the kind of items that first-year students are being asked to buy for school.
According to information available to Republic Press, parents of first-year boarding students must pay between GH₡4,500.00 and GH₡8,000.00, while day students pay between GH₡1,500.00 and GH₡2,000.00, depending on the school to purchase all items listed in the prospectus.
The school prospectus and the information revealed further are either similar or identical because it was a conscious effort and contribution by all of the headmasters and mistresses across the country’s 872 senior high schools.
The list and items that fresh students are asked to bring range from pyjamas for boys and nightgowns for girls to ‘Akasha’ [granulated] to padlocks and dress care insecticides.
The rest are yellow car duster, 3.5kg washing powder, parazone, native ahenema, Ghana Must Go Bags, Dettol, and others, just to mention a few.
But items that aggravated parents’ anger were a pack of board markers, a ream of A4 sheets, a pack of foolscap sheets, a torch light with extra batteries, napkins, disinfectants, and many others.
The question many parents are asking is what is the role of Ghana Education Service (GES) on matters relating to supply of stationery such as markers, A4 sheets, foolscap, and many others.
Speaking to the paper, Mr. Samuel Ansah, a taxi driver whose daughter got admission to Labone SHS, said parents were told to report on February 27, 2023, or risk losing their admission or boarding status, but the fact is that “I went to the school with only the cutlass with both the long and short broom and nothing less.”
“If I am to buy the items on the list, it will take me more than six months. To be frank, the items on the prospectus are even more than a marriage or engagement list but something we are told that is free,” he angrily quizzed.
Mr. Ansah quickly called on the President, GES, to immediately investigate the list of items that fresh students have been asked to buy and bring to school, or it will defeat the purpose of the free SHS policy.
“It is better and would be cheaper if we reverse to the old system of fee-paying than the current happenings because the ongoing economic crises and the kind of items it will prevent many students from reporting to school,” he stated.
Some parents spotted at Makola Market on Monday, February 27, 2023, were seen still struggling to gather school items for their wards to be in school.