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Free SHS: Schools run out of food as gov’t funds delay

Free Shs

Assisted Secondary Schools across the country have run out of food owing to failure by the Buffer Stock company to supply them nonperishable foods. The situation has been exacerbated by delays in the release of funds to the schools by the government. The heads have been running the schools on credit for two months now without money from the government.

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“Buffer stock has not supplied food to any school. Management of GES has not released funds to our accounts. The last time our executives met and raised this issue they promised us to expect the monies in our accounts in a week or two but it is almost a month now.

“There is no food and no money. We are running the schools on credit. I have to buy food on credit to cook for the students. It is really frustrating. Running the school has been hell but they have gagged everybody like you people term it as the culture of Silence. If you complain right now and you are fished out, you will regret it,” Head of a Senior High School told Starr news under the condition of anonymity.

Starr News has gathered that the government has paid only 50% of disbursement for SHS 3 students who completed their first semester, but has not paid anything for SHS 1 students who have been in school for more than 8 weeks.

The Heads of SHSs are mounting pressure on Executives of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) to call for an emergency meeting and issue an ultimatum to GES through the media over the issue.

They say they will not hesitate to shut their schools if the situation remains the same after all these efforts.

“Why should a Headmaster go to borrow money to run the school. Domestic Bursars are begging and buying perishable foods on credit to feed the student population of about 3000. You call the Regional Manager for the Buffer Stock and he tells you I can only get you bags of Gari”.

According to the government, the implementation of the Free SHS Programme has resulted in increased demand for secondary education.

The total number of beneficiaries for the 2019/2020 academic year was 1,200,580 students compared to a total number of 813,448 in the 2016/2017 academic year.

The Minister of Finance Ken Ofori Atta said during the presentation of the mid-year review of the 2020 Budget in Parliament on July 23 that, the government had invested an amount GH¢3.2 billion in the implementation of the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) Programme since inception in 2017.

Source: Ghana/ Ansah

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