The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) has vowed not to re-open public secondary schools across the country for the next academic year, unless government addresses pressing challenges facing them.
The challenges are unpaid absorbed fees and feeding grants, unpaid government scholarships, unpaid progressively free scholarships, inadequate feeding fee of GH¢3.30 per student per day for three meals, high expenditure on sanitation and fumigation due to bed bug infestation in schools as well as non-payment of Government of Ghana grant, for administration since 2011 among others.
The concerns were made known by the President of CHASS, Madam Cecilia Kwakye Cofie, at a press conference in Accra yesterday.
She said that several appeals to the Minister of Education, Ghana Education Service management and the Ghana Education Service Council, had yielded no results.
Madam Coffie explained that, if nothing is done urgently, education in the second cycle schools in the country would suffer.
She said that schools were in huge debts due to the woefully inadequate feeding grant of GH¢ 3.30 per student per day for three meals, which has a tax component of 17.5 per cent VAT and three per cent withholding tax.
She said that feeding fee must be increased since the prices of goods and services had gone up drastically since 2014, when the fees were fixed and that even the price of gari had shot up from GH¢ 2.40 to GH¢ 10 per “Olonka”.
Madam Coffie said that, absorbed fees for the second and third terms of the 2015/2016 academic year had not been paid, whereas the feeding grants for the three Northern regions schools; northern Volta, northern Brong Ahafo, were also in arrears for the second and third terms.
“This has brought serious problems to schools and students are being fed on credit while heads of institutions are being harassed by their creditors,” she said.
She further explained that there was high expenditure on sanitation which included dislodging of solid and liquid waste and fumigation cost.
She said the government of Ghana Scholarship to beneficiary students had not been paid for the whole of 2015/2016 academic year while the progressively free scholarship for second and third terms had also not been paid.
She said that secondary schools in Ghana have topped WASSCE for several years in the West African Sub- region, despite their numerous challenges and that “We are capable of achieving more if our challenges are addressed.”
By Emelia Enyonam Kuleke