The much talked about free Senior High School (SHS) programme may not achieve its set objectives if government continues to intimidate or victimize school heads who complain about challenges or take some initiatives to address same.
Former headmaster of La Presbyterian Senior High School, Samuel Salamat, who made the claim said he has undertaken a similar research which proves that fact.
Mr. Salamat has himself suffered from such action after he was transferred from the La PRESEC SHS for making an appeal to parents of beneficiaries of the free SHS policy, to pay GHc80 for the procurement of plastic chairs for their wards since the school lacked such facilities.
[contextly_sidebar id=”N2PHyxrZhYPzv61lXhOm5XnbwFvc80MQ”]But his action, which according to Mr. Salamat was borne out of genuine concern, incurred the wrath of government, because the move was allegedly seen as a sabotage of the free SHS programme.
Speaking for the first time after his transfer, Mr. Salamat said on the Citi Breakfast Show that such unfair action by government will create a culture of silence where headteachers will be scared to voice out their concerns and will adversely affect the laudable policy.
“If these things should go on, people will not be free to come out with their challenges and it will affect the quality of the very good free SHS programme. In 1987, when the Rawlings administration introduced the JHS and SHS system, because it was characterized by fear and intimidation, at the end, the result in 1993 was the worst to have happened in this country. I don’t want to talk about the results, if I start giving out the details, I will frighten the whole country. I have done a study, but I will not put it out there,” he said.
Mr. Salamat further advised government to be tolerant of concerns raised about the policy and tackle the challenges for the good of the country.
“…I expect the implementers of the free SHS to be circumspect, tolerant, prepared to listen and be prepared to engage people rather than intimidation, threat of dismissal, threat of transfer –those things will not help,” the former headmaster added.
18 headmasters interdicted for misconduct
About 18 headmasters of various second cycle institutions in Ghana were interdicted during the initial stages of the implementation of the free SHS policy in September 2017, for supposedly charging unapproved fees.
The Free SHS policy which took off in September, covered only first year students with over 400,000 students benefiting.
There was a lot of pressure on the second cycle institutions, as most schools were made to admit students beyond their capacities.
Reports suggest that, the situation forced some head teachers to improvise by seeking to charge some fees, although everything was supposed to be free.
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana