Free SHS resulted in only 17 more students over 2016 admissions - Napo

By Kwabena Owusu-Ampratwum

The Minister of Education is questioning claims by some heads of Senior High Schools that the free SHS policy has resulted in excessive overcrowding at their schools.

Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, aka Napo, says total enrollment to the second cycle level has increased by only 17 students over last year's admissions. He finds it confusing therefore that these schools are complaining about lack of space when some of them presented vacancies much below the numbers that passed out.

According to him, some Headteachers are orchestrating to stall the program for their own selfish gains.

Photos of students sleeping on the floor and outside dormitories have been making rounds on social media. Some parents have also complained of acute accommodation shortage, forcing them to rent hostels outside the school premises for their wards.

Many headteachers have also complained about receiving students far in excess of the vacancies they declared to the Ghana Education Service, forcing them to convert classrooms and other facilities into dormitories.

Speaking in a radio interview Dr Opoku Prempeh disclosed most of the headteachers under-declared vacancies in their schools with the hope of enrolling more themselves for financial gains. They were however unable to enroll students to fill those vacancies because only those placed in schools by the computerized placement system are recognized by the Free SHS policy.

According to him, some of these schools have come back to the Ministry begging for more students to fill the voids left as a result of their under-declaration.

He admitted there are some challenges, but said government is frantically working to address to ensure the smooth running of the policy.