Institutions should develop internal measures to support free SHS – Prof Nokoe

Accra – Professor Kaku Sagary Nokoe, the former Acting Vice Chancellor of University for Development Studies, has suggested that institutions should initiate internal revenue generation procedures to indirectly support the Free Senior High School (SHS) agenda.

In a statement issued to the Ghana News Agency, Professor Nokoe suggested two proposals premised on the fact that savings from other activities would provide some indirect source to support free SHS. Based on the relevance of this discussion, the Ghana News Agency would hereby produce the entire statement.

Housekeeping Issues: Supporting the Free Quality SHS Agenda

Free basic education, and in some cases extending to tertiary, is one way of ensuring that the nation continues to grow in all aspects of development. The relationship between nations growth and level and quality of education of its citizenry is well documented. The challenge has often been funding, and getting governments to commit budgets towards education without adversely affecting other sectors. It is on record that some previous government initiatives had addressed various funding options, but unsure of the success of their implementations.

The campaign pledge of the ruling NPP to provide free SHS with boarding and other components is probably on course but the debate continues on how best this noble venture can be funded. It is argued that well educated citizens could lead to less need for other services. I make two simple propositions, premised on the fact that savings from other activities would provide some indirect source to support:

1. For each school or group of schools, as may be determined by geography and demography, to own SCHOOL FARMS and ENTERPRISES built on Business Models. While this will demystify farming or agriculture as a profession, it should provide experiential learning as well. The type of agriculture will vary from animal husbandry to crops and vegetables. It should not involve cash crops – rubber, cocoa, coconut etc. An agency that links the institutions would ideally be put in place to enable limited sale and exchange of such farm outputs among the schools. The difference between the BOARDER who gets fed 3 times a day from the DAY STUDENT who is given only lunch, will reflect in the times (work hours) that these two categories offer to the enterprise. For example boarders may spend twice as much time as their day colleagues.

2. That the Ministry takes a further look at the number and spread of SHS in various areas and objectively determine the number of subjects or programmes that can be offered in each of the schools. This will enable schools to have only the teachers with the desired subject specialization. This proposal is informed by the evidence on the ground where there are new or better equipped schools. For instance, the start of operations at Gwiraman SHS at Bamiankor with its superior science and computing facilities had led to reduced enrolment at Essiama Secondary Technical and Nkroful SHS while general free SHS education has led to substantial growth in student population at Nsein and Half Assini Secondary Schools. This has raised questions as to the full utilization of teaching personnel in some of the schools. Teachers from exclusively programme-specific (example Science and Technical) schools should be able to offer support to others through effective time tabling.

The two scenarios above suggest that institutions initiate internal revenue generation procedures that add value to their studies, and general reduction in costs through reduction in staffing levels and possible sharing of specialized staff.

Source: Ghana News Agency