Thursday, September 23, 2010

CHASS SOUNDS ALARM...Over SHS admissions (1B, SEPT 23, 2010)

WITH just five days to begin the academic year, the Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior High Schools (CHASS) has given strong signals that some of the schools will not be able to admit boarding students because of lack of residential accommodation.
However, the Ministry of Education says the Headmasters should do everything possible, including improvising, to ensure that qualified students were not denied Senior High School (SHS) education.
Echoing the disturbing situation the Headmasters find themselves, the CHASS President, Mr Samuel Ofori-Adjei, said, “The stark reality on the ground is that in some schools there is nothing available to improvise from.”
Mr Ofori-Adjei was speaking at the opening of the 48th Annual CHASS Conference in Kumasi yesterday.
The theme for the one-week conference is, “Quality SHS Education- A prerequisite for national development.”
Mr Ofori-Adjei said for some schools there were no hostels, science laboratories, libraries or assembly halls to use temporarily while they awaited the construction of new structures to accommodate first year students.
He further expressed concern that some schools had been given more fresh students than the numbers they requested.
Notwithstanding the gloomy situation in some schools, the CHASS President said the association had adopted positive measures to face up to the future.
The measures include meetings with government officials and the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to quickly mobilise resources to get some quick-fix structures and enough furniture in schools within their jurisdictions.
Besides, he said, CHASS was also trying to get the Ghana Education Service to possibly adjust the re-opening date for form one students to prevent them from beginning their SHS education on a drab note.
Mr Ofori-Adjei called on the council and management of the GES to come up with well-structured and adequately financed capacity building programmes for heads and managers of the educational enterprise.
In apparent reaction to the CHASS President’s concerns, the Minister of Education, Mr Alex Tettey-Enyo, in a speech read on his behalf, said the government would count on the managerial expertise of the headmasters to admit all students sent to their schools through the Computerised Placement System.
He called on stakeholders in education to help give permanency to amendments to the 2008 Education Act, which had now made SHS education three years.
Stressing the importance of SHS education, the minister said it played the midfield position in the educational structure and as such must continuously be strengthened.
The Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof K.K. Adarkwa, who was the guest speaker, touched on the hiccups that the educational reforms had suffered over the years for which several committees had to review the system.
“There is a perception that the reforms have largely been at the whims and caprices of our political leaders.
“In my opinion, the various shake-ups are an ample testimony to the fact that education remains one of the major issues of our development process and rightly so,” Professor Adarkwa added.
He called for the strengthening of career guidance and counselling in SHS to ensure that subjects were chosen with broad understanding and appreciation of one’s future career paths.
Other speakers at the ceremony included the Asantehene’s Adontenhene, Nana Adu Gyamfi, and the Ashanti Regional Director of Education, Mr Joseph Onyina.

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