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General News of Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Free SHS: Angry parents of stranded students petition Minister

Over 50 parents on Wednesday morning petitioned the Eastern Regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Darfour, at the Regional Coordinating Council over what they term as the refusal of school authorities to provide their wards with boarding accommodation.

This action by the parents comes barely two days after Citi News reported that some parents are still stranded at the Seventh Day Adventist Senior High School in Koforidua, after failing to secure boarding accommodation for their kids who have been placed in those schools under the Free SHS programme.

The parents, who have been traveling to and fro from Tema, Kumasi, Kasoa, Accra, Afram Plains and Savlugu in the Northern Region, say they have had to abandon their work to follow up on these issues for their wards.

William Tabiri, a parent from Salaga, was furious about the ups and downs and the cost he has incurred in trying to secure boarding accommodation for his child.

“I am coming from Salaga in the Northern Region, I have been here since last week just to secure boarding accommodation for my daughter. My wife came here last 2 weeks for the prospectus and she was assured of boarding accommodation, and today [Wednesday], the situation is different. I am currently lodging in a hotel for the past one week, and all my money is finished because I do not know anyone here.”

Another parent lamented that, “We are not happy at all because since admission started, I have been traveling from Tema to Koforidua everyday. The Headmistress at the school gave me the prospectus to buy the things, I came with my son last week, but was told by her to come on Monday and on Monday we came again only to be informed we cannot get accommodation. We are from Tema, so how can my son be a day student, he is only 14 years old and I cannot rent a room for him.”

Another parent explained her situation to Citi News, saying, “I can’t be happy because other kids are learning while my child is at home; this is unfair because I was promised boarding accommodation so I went and borrowed money to purchase all the items on the prospectus, my small girl is only 15 years old so how do you expect me to be at home while my only child is sleeping in a rented room.”

“Most of the parents including myself here have brought all the items we were asked to buy on the prospectus and now they are saying we should go home with it, why should we go through all these pain?. If we do not get a positive response from the Minister and the Regional Education Director we are not leaving here today” she said.

The Eastern Regional Minister was however not present, because he’s on another assignment in Accra, as of the time the parents got to the coordinating council.

However, the Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Joseph Tetteh, directed his public relations officer Osei Owusu to accompany the angry parents to the office of the Eastern Regional Education Director, Gertrude Mensah, who told the parents that nothing can be done about the boarding accommodation.”

“I am aware of your problems, the Headmistress has been summoned to Accra because she has even taken more than necessary and she is going to answer questions on that. In the interim, my PRO will take your names and send it to Accra for your kids to be accommodated as Day students or you can even change the school if you want, but I must say the Headmistress at SDA cannot do anything about it to help you.”

The implementation of the Free SHS this September for first year students, has put enormous pressure on the facilities of most schools across the country. Some heads have improvised to accommodate the numbers, but others simply cannot take anymore.