The implementation of free senior high school policy is being impeded by inadequate classroom block and accommodation at Vitting SHS and Kalipohini SHS, both in the Northern Region.
First-year students of the two schools – beneficiaries of the free education policy – sleep in the open or under trees, exposing them to attacks from both reptiles and robbers.
Joy News Northern Region Correspondent, Hashmin Mohammed, who visited the two schools, reports that first-year students sleeping in the open at Vitting SHS are unable to cope with mosquitoes at night.
“We don’t have enough rooms for ourselves to sleep…We [have been] sleeping on the veranda since we reported for school [a month ago], we don’t have a place to sleep; some sleep at the mosque. Even in the classroom, we are congested because there is no furniture for us,” a frustrated first-year student of Vitting SHS tells Hashmin.
The school has a population of about 1,400 male and female boarding students, but there are only five dormitories, most of which are overcrowded.
Students who are unable to cope with the congestion opt for the open, exposing them to insects, reptiles and the cold night.
“In the girl’s dormitories some us are lying down on the floor…and bedbugs disturb us a lot,” a female student recounts.
The story is no different at Kalipohini SHS, where students sleeping in the open say they carry their luggage to their classrooms when it starts to rain.
The flagship education policy of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is to create a more literate society and to make education easily accessible to all.
Under the new policy, there is free tuition, “no admission fees, no library fees, no science centre fees, no computer lab fees, no examination fees, no utility fees; there will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals, and day students will get a meal at school for free,” President Nana Akufo-Addo explained.
However, its implementation has been fraught with logistical and infrastructure challenges since it was launched in September this year.
Enrolment in schools across the country has increased many folds amidst inadequate resources.
At least 400, 000 Junior High School graduates are benefitting from the policy this year.
Meanwhile, a Deputy Education Minister has assured his outfit is working feverishly to fix the infrastructural problems that have overwhelmed the policy.
Dr Yaw Adutwum told Joy News’ Matilda Wemega that within two weeks schools lacking furniture especially will be catered for.
Joy News is leading a campaign to highlight the grave infrastructural challenges impeding the free SHS implementation.