The Ghanaian Times has, through a number of editorials, rallied stakeholders in education, to collaborate to ensure a successful implementation of the free Senior High School (SHS) programme.

But it appears the collaboration is not working as stakeholders continue to engage in media war instead of finding a mutual ground to solve the numerous problems that have bedeviled the programme.

The Conference of Assistant Senior High Schools (CHASS) and the Ghana Education Service (GES), have since Monday been grabbing headlines explaining their versions of issues concerning the free SHS.

The national president of the CHASS, Mrs Cecilia Kwakye Cofie, was reported to have said schools risked being closed down prematurely if the absorbed fees by the government do not reach the schools “immediately”.

That she explained was because  subsidies which had been in arrears for three terms had not been paid to the school, coupled with the release of payment of scholarship to SHS and the reneging on the part of the government to supply food to the schools.

According to Mrs Cofie, the heads of schools had  submitted the enrolment figures and also engaged the government on several occasions, but to no avail, putting pressure on them due to fear of intimidation.

In reaction to her claims, Director-General of GES, Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwaa  also took to the media to explain that only 56 out of 674 SHS had so far submitted  their returns  on the funds earlier realised  to them under the free SHS programme.

He explained that the GES had decided to process the returns it had received so far and pay the remaining funds to them and outlined efforts the GES was making to address all outstanding issues.

The Ghanaian Times is not in the position to tell who is right or wrong but, our concern is how stakeholders who held consultative meetings prior to the introduction of the free SHS cannot work together to make the programme work.

The debate in the media won’t solve the problem facing the schools and those who are engage in them should not forget that the media is in search of news to increase their viewership, listenership and readership and would sieze any opportunity to do so.

Instead of the media war which will bastardise the free SHS programme, we urge the GES and CHASS to join forces and iron out their differences in order to concentrate on resolving challenges at hand.

We urge government to also work on finding sustainable sources of funding for the programme since all the challenges that have come up so far border on lack of available funds.

If we cannot find solution to issues concerning just the first batch of beneficiaries, how are we planning to handle the increased number of beneficiaries next year? It is about time the media war between stakeholders on education ended.



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