Schools beg gov’t to release delayed Free SHS grant

Senior High Schools across the country implementing the Free SHS programme are in serious financial crisis due to government’s failure to release grants for the third term.

The schools are currently in seventh week of the third term of the 2017/2018 academic year and have since reopening been running without the Free SHS grant for the term.

A letter by the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) dated May 28 and addressed to the Free SHS Secretariat, expressed worry over the delays in releasing the funds.

“This is to inform you that the delayed payment of the Free SHS grant for the third term of the 2017/2018 academic year is creating serious financial challenges for senior high schools” CHASS stated in the letter a copy of which was sighted by 3news.com.

The term is currently left with seven weeks, hence CHASS is urging the Free SHS Secretariat to ensure payment of the grant “without any further delay to ensure smooth running of the term”

The letter however fell short of the action CHASS intends to take in the event of further delays in the payment of the grant.

The Free SHS programme started across the country on Monday, September 11, 2017. While some schools had a smooth and well organized process, others have several hiccups that almost dented the programme.

In January this year, Vice President, Dr Bawumia dismissed claims that the Free SHS Programme could collapse due to lack of finances and gave the assurance that there was enough money for its long term implementation.

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He said the over GH¢1.2 billion allocated to the implementation of the free programme this year, was a clear indication of the Government’s commitment to ensure its sustainability.

Under the free SHS, students enjoy free tuition, no admission fees, no library fees, no science centre fees, no computer lab fees, no examination fees, no utility fees.

READ: Let only aggregate 30 and below students enjoy Free SHS – Headmaster suggests

They also provided free textbooks, free boarding and free meals, and while day students gets a meal at school for free.

“Free SHS will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level.  I also want to state clearly again that we have a well-thought out plan that involves the building of new public Senior High Schools and cluster public Senior High Schools,” President Akufo-Addo said in February last year.

By 3news.com|Ghana