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Opinions of Monday, 24 February 2020

Columnist: Nana Kwadwo Akwaa

Nana Addo or Mahama: Under whose govt has SHS education at the Northern part of Ghana been more free?


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1)Abstract

The research was to find out which of the governments under Ghana's fourth (4th) Republic is ensuring or ensured that the Senior High School (SHS) education in the Northern part of Ghana is or was freer and conducive for learning.

Respondents were chosen from the northern part of Ghana and had in-depth knowledge about the SHS educational system in that part of the country.

This study established that the SHS education in the northern part of Ghana is of a lower standard in terms of quality as compared to that of southern part premised on number of factors

It has been ascertained that the SHS education at the northern part currently has access to better facilities, and is more free under the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo's Government than under the erstwhile President John Dramani Mahama's administration and all the other former presidents under Ghana's 4th Republic.

2)Introduction

Critical Thinkers International (CTI) is a Ghanaian based Think Tank which holds on to the Centre right ideology. The general objective of CTI is to pursue the general welfare of Ghana and its entire citizenry. The group has a total of one hundred and fifty (150) members of ages (18+), and diverse educational backgrounds, tribes and social classes across the country. It was formed in 2014.

The survey by CTI was to ascertain the factors affecting the general development of Senior High School education in the Northern part of Ghana.

Free Education has always been thought of in terms of the roles it plays in the social, political and economic developments of a country through the growth of the human resource needs of a country. More so, because of how the SHS and the entire educational system of the northern part of Ghana were rippled with challenges of quality, weak institutional capacities, inadequate funding and others, free education became a major issue and a vital need for Northern Ghana’s sustainable socio-economic development.

This as a result brought about the implementation of a Free SHS (FSHS) policy in the northern part of the country in January 1952 to help alleviate the above-mentioned problems. To further achieve an extension of free education from the basic level to the SHS level across the entire country, the Free SHS policy was implemented in September 2017.

3)Body

A) Methodology

The research took approximately three (3) weeks to get done, It spanned between 28th January 2020 and 18th February 2020. Primary data was used for the analysis. Opinions and views of respondents were elicited using a survey engine application and printed questionnaire. Four hundred and fifty (450) respondents were targeted but exactly three hundred and three (303) respondents formed the sample size. The research was conducted in towns of regions in the northern part of Ghana precisely Bawku, Sagnarigu, Walewale, Tamale, Navrongo, Paga Chiana, West Mamprugu and others.

The research had a few limitations, and they include weak internet connectivity, the inability of some of the respondents to complete the questionnaire on their own, the unwillingness of some of the residents to partake in the survey, language barrier, inadequate source of funding and others.

B) Results

a) Comparatively, Senior High Schools (SHS) in the northern part of Ghana as compared to those of the Southern part, which is better in terms of performance and infrastructure, and why?

i. Southern Schools = 87.50%

ii. Northern Schools = 12.50%

Some concerns accumulated include;

• They are the same

•Southern schools because their schools get more attention from government, parents, old students and their leaders because with regards to the south, parents and leaders care more about the education of their kids and youth than the north

•Southern schools because they have better infrastructure and facilities

•Southern schools because they are allowed to engage in examination malpractices

•Southern schools because northerners have a bad attitude toward their own

b) Comparing Senior High Schools in the Northern part of Ghana compared to those of the Southern part, where do students find it more encouraging and conducive to study, and why?

i. Southern Schools = 75.00%

ii. Northern Schools = 25.00%

Some concerns accumulated include;

• They are the same

• Southern schools because the southern part is free of conflict

• Southern schools because of the willingness of parents to support activities of schools and also the schools have better facilities

•Southern schools because the south has more literates to serve as role models for the students

•Northern schools because the youth of the southern part of Ghana are more interested in business than education.

c) Comparing the status of Senior High Schools in the Northern part of Ghana in terms of school and students needs such as teachers, food, school uniforms, books, beds, desks, study facilities and others; under whom is it better; under President Nana Addo's Government or the other governments before President Nana Addo, and why?

i. President Nana Addo = 50.00%

ii. Other Governments = 0.00%

iii. None = 50.00%

Some concerns accumulated include;

•They are the same

•It is better under President Nana Addo's Government because of the increase in feeding allowance and the introduction of the Free SHS policy.

d) Were any costs such as school fees, PTA dues, Classes fees, feeding fees, and other kinds of fees or costs paid by students or parents/guardians of students in Senior High Schools at the Northern part of Ghana under the previous governments before President Nana Addo's governments? if yes, state the kind of such costs.

i. Yes = 75.00%

ii. No = 12.50%

iii. No idea = 12.50%

Some concerns accumulated include;

a) Some of the costs which were specified as paid under former President John Mahama's Government and the other Governments include 400 Gh Cedis yearly for food, 600 Gh Cedis for admission fee, 50 Gh Cedis for PTA, 2,000 Gh Cedis to cover yearly expenses and so many other costs

e) Are any costs such as school fees, PTA dues, Classes fees, feeding fees, and other kind of fees or costs being paid by students or parents/guardians of students currently enjoying Free Senior High School (FSHS/Free SHS) at Senior High Schools in the Northern part of Ghana under President Nana Addo's Government? if yes, state the kind of such costs.

i. Yes = 25.00%

ii. No = 62.50%

iii. No idea = 12.50%

Some concerns accumulated include;

Some of the costs which were specified as being paid under President Nana Addo's Government include PTA levies and 2,000 yearly expenses

f)Under which government is the Free Senior High School (FSHS/Free SHS) policy running in Senior High Schools in the Northern part of Ghana more free; under President Nana Addo's government or under the previous governments before President Nana Addo's government, give reasons?

i. President Nana Addo = 62.50%

ii. Other Governments = 0.00%

iii. None = 37.50%

Some concerns accumulated include;

It is more free under President Nana Addo's Government because costs such as extra classes, mattresses and others have been taken off.

4.Conclusion

A. Findings

It was found out that Senior High Schools at the Southern part of the country are better in terms of infrastructure, conducive environment, facilities and academic performance than those at the north because; the southern part is free from conflicts, access to more literate role models and also the greater attention the schools in the southern part are given by parents, old students, leaders and government. As a result, students find it more encouraging to school in the southern part of the country than in the northern part.

The research has also established that students of Senior High Schools in the northern part of Ghana are currently having more access to basic educational needs such as teachers, food, school uniforms, books, beds, desks and other study facilities under President Nana Addo's Government than under former President John Mahama's Government and the other previous Governments because of the introduction of the Free SHS policy under President Nana Addo's Government.

Despite a general notion that SHS education in the northern part of Ghana had been free before President Nana Addo's implementation of the Free SHS (FSHS) in September, 2017, the research revealed that students were actually exposed to lots of costs such as 400 Gh Cedis yearly for food, 600 Gh Cedis for admission fee, 50 Gh Cedis for PTA, 2,000 Gh Cedis to cover yearly expenses and many other costs. Even under the FSHS under President Nana Addo's Government, it was also found that some students are still bearing some costs such as PTA levies and 2,000 Gh Cedis yearly expenses.

In the gross sectional outcome, it was found that costs being born by students of Senior High Schools in the northern part of Ghana under President Nana Addo's Government are relatively lower than under that of the previous Governments (President Mahama's Government and the other Governments).

In furtherance to this, it was also revealed that Senior High School education at the northern part of Ghana is free and the Free SHS policy at that part of Ghana is running better under President Nana Addo's administration than it did under the erstwhile Former President Mahama's administration and all the other successive Governments.

B. Recommendations

i. Government must strengthen the Monitoring and Evaluation with respect to the Government's FSHS policy at the northern part of the country.

ii. Stakeholders who would be found to have aided the rendering of FSHS policy not completely free through the imposition of illegal costs on SHS students at the northern part of the country be sanctioned to serve as deterrent for other who may intend to replicate.

iii. The Government, leaders and other stakeholders of the northern part of the country should give Senior High Schools in the area all the necessary attention.

iv. The Government, leaders and other stakeholders of the northern part of the country should put in place all the necessary measures to help reduce drastically all forms of conflicts in the area.

v. Highly educated people from the northern part of the country should be made to regularize their visits and dialogues with students of Senior High Schools in the northern part of the country to help serve as a source of motivation to such students.

Hhhmm, may God be praised always

Head of Research Team

Nana Kwadwo Akwaa

Research Team Members

Tonzua Imoro Mustapha +233502199530

Abire Desmond +233248088552

Adiepena Mirekua-Sarpong +233244570177

Adutwum-Gyimah (DOXA) 0504477030

Ohene Solo +233501383516

Collins Sah +233243459237

Reindolf Amankwa +233544728631

Abena Agyeiwaa 0543727457

Leticia Danquah +233557875669

Asamoah Henry Foster 0556661962

Yawooza Suame +233545338845

Nana Adwoa Tweneboa (NAT) +233247904450

Richard Johnson (Richsoils) +233244617315

Hon. Noah Ngminnie +233247697937

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