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Second Cycle Schools To Delay Reopening   
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Mr Samuel Ofori-Adjei, President of CHASS
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The reopening of government-assisted senior high schools for the 2014/2015 academic year in September has been confronted with serious challenges that may disrupt the academic calendar.

This follows a threat by heads of the schools to delay the reopening date, if the government fails to promptly release the last two tranches of subsidies for the 2013/2014 academic year.

The government pays a subsidy of about GH¢25 per student per term.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, the President of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), Mr Samuel Ofori-Adjei, said the decision had already been communicated verbally to the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), adding that it would be followed up with an official letter.

Utility bills

Mr Ofori-Adjei said the worrying aspect of the subsidies was the new directive about three years ago that all schools must pay the utility companies directly, saying that “this has resulted in schools running into debts because we cannot run the schools without basic things such as electricity and water”.

He said for instance that even if the subsidies were paid promptly, it would have still been difficult for heads of such schools to operate efficiently, considering the fact that the government paid GH¢6 per student per term for utilities and GH¢0.30 per student per term for first aid.
He explained that the situation was more precarious, especially for schools that used pre-paid electricity meters, since their access to electricity was dependent on their ability to purchase it and wondered if the government would reconsider taking off the payment of the utilities from the subsidies.

Mr Ofori-Adjei explained that the students were entrusted in the care of the headmasters and no headmaster would like to risk the lives of his or her students, if the provision of the utilities were not guaranteed.


He was hopeful that since there was still time before the commencement of the 2014/2015 academic year, the government would ensure that the academic calendar was not disrupted.
Mr Ofori-Adjei, who is the Headmaster of Accra Academy, dismissed assertions that CHASS was only out to hold the government to ransom, explaining, “We are not interested in this and that explains why we have been managing in the quiet, never speaking about it since September 2013 until now.”
He was worried that some heads had resorted to borrowing and were now playing hide-and-seek games with their debtors, adding that they could not go back to the same people for credit when the old debts had not been paid.

First tranche 2013/2014

The first tranche, which was supposed to cater for the first term from September to December, 2013 of the 2013/2014 academic year, which ended in July 2014, was paid in the first week of August, 2014.

The subsidies, which are not flat rates for all schools, are released on a termly basis and are meant to take care of utilities, maintenance of office equipment, office stationery, postage, first aid, sports and maintenance of equipment of senior high/technical schools.

By the end of the 2013/2014 academic year, most of the heads of such schools owed various service providers, especially the utility companies, huge sums of money.
Source: Graphic.com

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