President of CHASS, Cecilia Kwakye Coffie, while addressing a press conference in Accra on Wednesday July 20 said “Some of the pressing challenges are unpaid absorbed fees and feeding grants, unpaid Ghana government scholarships, unpaid progressively free scholarship, inadequate feeding fees of GHC3.30 per student per day for 3 meals, high electricity, water and telephone bills, high expenditure on sanitation and fumigation due to bed bugs infestation in schools, non-payment of GoG grant for administration since 2011, and no replacement of retired teaching and non-teaching staff.”
She added that the situation has resulted in the inability of school heads to continue managing the Senior High Schools (SHSs).
“The absorbed fees for 2nd and 3rd term for 2015/2016 academic year have not been paid…the feeding grants for schools in the three regions up north, as well as in Northern, Volta and northern Brong Ahafo are also outstanding for the 2nd and 3rd terms, and this has brought serious problems to schools as students are fed on credit and heads of institutions are being harassed by their creditors.
“The progressively free scholarship for 2nd and 3rd terms of the 2015/2016 academic year has not been paid. The Ghana government scholarship to beneficiary students has not been paid for the whole year i.e. 2015/2016 academic year.
“The feeding fee of GHC3.30 per student per day for 3 meals is woefully inadequate. There is a tax component of 17.5% VAT and 3% withholding tax. This has resulted in huge debts in schools. The feeding fee should be increased since price of goods and service have gone up drastically since 2014 when the fees were fixed e.g. the price of gari has shot up from GHC 2.40 to GHC 10.00 per American tin (olonka),” she said.
Mrs. Coffie further bemoaned: “We want the electricity fee to be separated from the water fee and both should be appreciably increased to meet the bills from Electricity Company of Ghana and Ghana Water Company”.
“There is high expenditure on sanitation, which includes dislodging of solid and liquid waste. Fumigation cost, as a result of bed bugs infestation in schools, is just too high. The sanitation fees are part of the absorbed fees, which have not been paid for 2nd and 3rd terms”.
“In the light of the above, we are appealing to the Hon. Minister of Education, GES and GES management to expedite action on the concerns raised. Otherwise the schools cannot re-open for the 2016/2017 academic year”.
The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) has threatened to shut down SHSs across the country following government’s delay in paying subsidies to schools.