The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools(CHASS) has written to Management of Ghana Education Service demanding payment of outstanding arrears of subsidies for the last batch of Fee-Paying Senior High School Students who completed School in June this year.
A letter signed by President of CHASS, Alhaji Yakub.A.B Abubakar, and sighted by Starr News also reminded GES to pay arrears of students who benefitted from the Mahama government’s three-year scholarship Policy intervention dubbed Progressively Free SHS which started in September 2015.
According to government, an amount of GH¢ 12,178,544.00 ($2,744334) was released to the Ministry of Education for the first term of 2015/2016 academic year to fund the progressive free policy.
But according to the current Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, funds were not released in the second year of implementation of the policy for the 2016/2017 academic year which was expected to benefit an additional 100,000 students reason the students were then asked to pay fees.
However, CHASS, explains that the outstanding arrears spanning from the Progressive Free SHS Policy and the subsidies on the last batch of Fee Paying Students have created liability for the schools hence funds received for other purposes are being used to defray old debts of suppliers.
“This has created a backlog of debts in the schools. Hence any funds sent to the schools are met with suppliers coming to the schools to redeem debts we owe them”.
“We would be very happy if these funds are released to the schools without any further delay”.
Another issue of concern raised by CHASS in the letter is the publication of Lodgement to schools which they say is making the management of the schools an arduous task.
“The publication of lodgements to schools have equally not helped matters. This is making management of the schools very difficult as any funds lodged in the schools do not last”
The Progressive Free SHS Policy which targetted the poor and needy only has since 2017 been replaced by Free SHS for all Ghanaian Children by the ruling New Patriotic Party-led government of President Akufo-Addo.
Government says the implementation of the free Senior High School (SHS) policy three years ago has saved parents a total amount of GHC 1.8billion.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta told Parliament during the presentation of the 2020 budget in November this year that government has spent over GHC 2. 2 billion since the introduction of the policy currently taking care of 1.2million stundents
Government spends about GH¢2,312 on each SHS student per year.
Source: Ghana/Starrfm.com.gh/103.5FM/Kojo Ansah