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4-Year SHS At Risk   
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Headmasters and headmistresses of various senior high schools (SHS) in the country are racing against time to meet the accommodation, classroom, as well as textbook and syllabus, needs for the continuation of the four-year SHS system in September.

With about seven months for the commencement of the full cycle of the reform, the heads appear frustrated with projects, some still at the foundation level and others completely abandoned, while many of the schools reel under severe infrastructural and logistics challenges.

From the Greater Accra through Eastern to Central, Western and Northern regions, how to accommodate the first-year students who will be admitted at the beginning of the academic year in September this year is a real challenge to the heads in a year when no SHS student will leave school.

Already, some of the schools have converted their laboratories and dormitories into classrooms to accommodate the increased student population, while in others the authorities say they do not even have space for further expansion.

In Accra, visits by the Daily Graphic to Accra High SHS, Accra Girls’ SHS, St Thomas Aquinas SHS and Osu Presbyterian SHS revealed that there had barely been any development in terms of the provision of dormitories and classrooms to cater for the first-year students in September.

All the GETfund projects that should have catered for the increased demand have also been abandoned at various stages by the various contractors for lack of funds.

While some of the heads of the institutions were unwilling to comment, others were optimistic that they could manage but appealed to the government to release funds for the completion of the GETFund projects. They contended that since it was a government policy, they must work towards its success, saying, “We need the infrastructure and we will pick it from there.”

The Headmaster of Accra High SHS, Mr Isaac Ohemeng-Gyebi, told the Daily Graphic that he and his members of staff were ready to contribute towards the success of the programme. He said his outfit had been in close touch with the Ghana Education Service (GES) on measures to allow for a smooth take-off of the programme.

The three-storey building at Accra Girls’ SHS meant to cater for the new students is at the lintel level and its completion can solve the problem. At the St Thomas Acquinas SHS, the Headmaster, Mr Frank Bebli, said the GES “has been holding a number of meetings and it will definitely put in place the infrastructure needed to meet the September deadline for the take-off of the programme”.

He said the 12-classroom GETFund project which began in 2003 was abandoned a few years ago for lack of funds and appealed to the government to release funds to complete the project.

From the Central Region, Shirley Asiedu Addo reports that some SHS in the Cape Coast metropolis are deeply disturbed at the state of preparation towards the implementation of the new system.

They said three years into the new system, some of the textbooks for the fourth year were yet to be made available to them, expressing the fear that the situation might impact negatively on academic performance, especially in respect of the pioneer students who would be entering the fourth year next academic year.

The Headmaster of the Academy of Christ the King, Mr. Victor Mensah-Adator, said there were no classrooms to accommodate first year students who would be admitted next academic year. He said the day school did not even have a large building like a dining hall or an assembly hall to temporarily accommodate the students.

He, therefore, called for urgent steps to ensure that the schools prepared adequately for the students. Mr. Mensah-Adator said although the syllabi were in, some of the textbooks for the fourth year, were not available. He said the GES conducted a needs assessment and concluded that the school needed a 12-classroom block for the programme but said nothing had been done so far, adding that the school faced a harrowing experience next September.
Source: Daily Graphic /Ghana

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