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General News of Monday, 17 February 2020

Source: peacefmonline.com

Free SHS doesn't cover elective textbooks - PIAC technical manager


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The Technical Manager at Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Mark Agyemang says elective textbooks are not covered under the Free SHS policy.

However, he said this has not been clearly communicated to parents by government, leading to a situation where some parents are refusing to take responsibility for the purchase of these textbooks for their wards.

This situation is negatively impacting on the quality of teaching and learning in schools, he said.

In an interview with UTV News, the Technical Manager noted that some schools experience delay in receipt of funds, sometimes transferred in tranches within or across terms.

He stressed that about 85 per cent of the schools visited had to rely on the funds of the non-free SHS students to cater for all streams students until funds are disbursed from the Free SHS secretariat.

He again said if this is not addressed, it will impact negatively on the running of the schools when the programme runs full stream.

Food Supply

Commenting on corruption risks associated with food supply, Mr Mark Agyemang noted that, the lack of advice to recipient schools on the value of goods supplied portends a corruption risk as the lack of transparency provides cover for cost manipulation.

The lack of cost information also makes it difficult to complete the school accounts, as there is no transparency in the selection of suppliers.



Restore Cut-off Grades

Touching on cut-off grades, Mr Mark Agyemang explained that, the cut-off grades for admitting students should be restored, as students with poor grades struggle with subjects during the course of the term.

He said the Ghana Education Service should pay more to the basic schools to improve the quality of students for the second cycle schools.

The Technical Manager at Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), Mr Mark Agyemang further said, according to school authorities and some of the students interviewed, food variety and quality have improved under the programme.

According to him, some school authorities and students confirmed that the school feeding has been improved.

He again noted that the free SHS programme has led to an increase in enrolment of 41 per cent of the schools visited.

He explained that girl’s enrolment, in particular, has increased across most of the schools they visited.



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