In a recent development, seven headmasters and headmistresses from several schools in the Ashanti Region have been interdicted by the Ghana Education Service (GES) for allegedly exploiting new students albeit government implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy since 2017.
The heads were said to be involved in the collection of illegal monies during the admission and registration processes.
The implicated schools include Kumasi Girls’ SHS, Asanteman SHS, KSTS, Manso-Edubia SHS, Agric Nzema Community SHS, Nkawie SHTS, Collins SHS.
Also affected are Berekum SHS in the Bono region, O’reilly SHS and Ghana Secondary High School among others. They are allegedly charging refuse (borla), petrol fees, lunch bag among others.
The GES has taken this step in response to allegations that these headmasters and headmistresses have been selling unauthorized items and charging unapproved fees to Form One students who recently joined their respective schools.
Such activities, according to the GES, not only raise ethical concerns but also undermine the integrity of the educational system.
It said this is especially worrisome as it places an additional financial burden on parents who are already grappling with various expenses and who welcomed the government’s introduction of the Free SHS policy.
Earlier, Patience Naki Mensah, the headmistress of the Ghana Senior High School (SHS) in Koforidua, Eastern Region, was one whose interdiction popped up in this matter.
However, it appears the alleged illegal is one too many.
The GES has decided to initiate further investigations into the allegations levied against them.
This incident is not an isolated one, as numerous headteachers have faced similar accusations of charging unapproved fees since the implementation of the Free SHS policy.
This policy, a laudable initiative, aims to provide free secondary education to all eligible students across Ghana.
The GES, along with other relevant authorities, have expressed their commitment in ensuring that the Free SHS policy is implemented fairly and transparently. Any incidents involving the sale of unauthorized items or the levying of unapproved fees go against the principles of this policy and infringe upon the rights of students and parents alike.
It is hoped that the interdiction of the headteachers and the subsequent investigation will serve as a deterrent to other headteachers who may be engaging in similar practices.
The GES said it remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding the integrity of the educational system, delivering equal opportunities to all students, and ensuring the effective implementation of the Free SHS policy.
As investigations continue, the GES encourages students, parents, and community members to promptly report any incidents of unauthorized item sales or unapproved fees.
This collaborative effort will help to identify and address any individuals or institutions involved in such illicit activities.
The Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service reassure the public that appropriate actions will be taken against any individuals found guilty of violating the regulations and policies of the Free SHS initiative.
The ultimate goal is to establish an educational environment where all students have an equal chances to succeed and flourish.
By Vincent Kubi