PAYING FEEDING GRANTS FOR SHSs PROMPTLY

In the next few weeks, second cycle schools are going to re-open and one very important concern on the minds of parents is feeding grants for Senior High School, (SHSs)

The issue of feeding grants for SHSs has over the years been a matter of concern because it often delayed unduly.

Heads of schools, Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs), community leaders and chiefs have on number of occasions voiced their concern.

Indeed, efforts have been made by government to pay the grants so that the SHS calendar could run smoothly, but sometimes payments delay and which derail school’s calendar.

Some of the delays also cause hardships for parents and students because of the disruption of plans at home.

It is against this backdrop that the Ghanaian Times joins members of the BONABOTO, an association comprising people of Bolgatanga, Nabdam, Bongo, Tongo and its environs in appealing to the government to fast-track payments of 2018/2019 academic year grants to SHSs in the three Northern regions to enable these schools re-open on schedule.

We agree with their position that delays in the release of grants affect education in the three Northern regions.

On a broader note, schools across the country that are not paid feeding grants on time often face difficulties managing the schools.

Such schools sometimes had to rely on credit from their suppliers to feed the students and that also creates its own problems.

We are worried, because while government is unable to pay feeding grants promptly and sometimes is in arrears, more students are going to be admitted to SHSs this academic year.

Indeed, the government is expected to shoulder an unprecedented financial burden in dealing with an increase of 181,000 students to be enrolled onto the free SHS programme.

The government, no doubt, is going to be under enormous financial pressure following the enrolment of the additional numbers which is also expected to put pressure on facilities with the introduction of the double-track and semester systems.

Undoubtedly, the country’s economy is in difficult times but the government has shown so much goodwill to resolve all the teething problems confronting the education sector.

Perhaps, what would set the minds and hearts of many parents at ease is for the government to be able to pay promptly the feeding grants, so that the academic calendar would not be disrupted and for the smooth introduction of the double track system.

It would be suicidal for the grants to delay and therefore, disrupt the take-off of the new semester system.

We therefore urge the government and all stakeholders to resolve all the problems identified with the introduction of the free SHS programme so that re-opening for the 2018/2019 academic year would come off smoothly.

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