Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has described as “irrelevant” the much talked about cut-off point for the admission and implementation of the free Senior High School (SHS) policy by the government for the 2017/2018 academic year.
He explained that the cut-off points for admission into second-cycle institutions were illusions and essentially never existed.
Dr Prempeh stated that the cut-off points were not necessary in the admission of students to second-cycle institutions, adding that “schools which are limited in infrastructural capacity and are unable to house large numbers of students would be forced to select the best out of the lot.”
The education minister made the submission at a forum on a sensitisation on the implementation of the free SHS policy for heads of public second-cycle institutions across the country at the Anglican Senior High School in Kumasi, last Monday.
Directive to heads
He further stated that about 70 per cent of the admissions would be based on selection by the heads of the various schools, including protocol, but 30 per cent would be reserved for less-privileged pupils from public schools across the country.
Dr Prempeh said the government would deal ruthlessly with heads who go contrary to the criteria for admitting students under the free SHS policy.
He explained that the policy was basically a scholarship scheme beginning with the first year students for the 2017/2018 academic year, who would be supplied with the necessary textbooks with free SHS inscription on them to assist with the smooth implementation of the policy.
“Any headmaster/headmistress who goes against the guidelines will be dealt with ruthlessly. Ask questions when you don’t understand something for it to be explained to you. Don’t do things your own way,” he cautioned.
Touching on feeding, the minister said provision would be made to employ the services of food vendors to provide free lunch for over 161 day schools throughout the country at the start of the policy, after which they would be provided with permanent facilities for the feeding programme.
He asked the heads to follow the national menu plan approved by the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) strictly and ensure that the day students in their schools benefit from the feeding programme.
Dr Prempeh urged the heads of schools to be accountable for their stewardship and ensure that they produce quality students who would effectively contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
He was hopeful that the heads, together with their team in the various institutions, would contribute to the smooth implementation of the free SHS policy by government.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, in a powerpoint presentation, justified the need for the implementation of the free SHS.