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First-year SHS students report to school

BY: Hannah A Amoah

First-year students of second-cycle schools have started reporting to their schools in their numbers, in spite of the short period between the time of placement and that of reporting to school.



When the Daily Graphic team visited some schools yesterday, it was observed that, on average, about 40 per cent of students offered admission had reported and were going through registration formalities.

The heads of the schools visited said they expected more students to arrive by the close of day, and that they also had adequate teachers and logistics to cater for and welcome the freshers to school.

In Accra, the Graphic team, made up of Faith Ayorkor Mensah, Jemima Okang Addae, Abigail Sedinam Kortiah, Dickson Worlanyo Dotse and Elizabeth Konadu-Boakye went to Accra Academy, the Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High School (PRESEC), Legon, the St Thomas Aquinas SHS, the Labone SHS, the Accra Girls’ SHS and Accra High School to observe the opening day.

In Cape Coast, Edith Mensah visited the Wesley Girls’ High School, the Ghana National College, the St Augustine’s College, the Mfantsipim School and the Holy Child Girls’ School.

Observation

As early as 7 a.m., some of the students and their parents had arrived in the schools with the listed items on the schools’ prospectuses, including trunks and ‘chop’ boxes, mattresses, pillows, buckets, brooms and brushes.

Most of them reported to the administration or designated registration points to confirm their admission, and after going through the process, they were directed to their houses of residence and assigned dormitories.

In some schools, designated desks, mainly according to the courses the new students will offer, had been created to smoothen the registration process.

Also, it was observed that most schools had introduced online registration portals that had made things easier and more efficient and convenient, thereby easing the pressure on parents. As a result, although there were significant numbers, parents and their children were attended to faster.

Another observation made was that most of the new students looked calm and seemed ready for their new environments, while those who had met their mates from junior high school looked excited to be together in SHS too.

The general complaint of most parents was that with the Easter festivities coming off next week, when schools were expected to go on a break, they had hoped that the reporting date would be deferred till after the festivities.

“Next week, we know schools will go on break for the Easter festivities, so instead of making us send the children to school today for them to return only next week, the authorities should have fixed the reporting date for after the Easter,” a parent at Accra Academy said.

Accra High

The Headmistress of the Accra High School, Rev. Lydia Anim-Nketiah, said as of yesterday, 845 students had been placed in the school.

Admissions, she said, began last week after the school placement was released and many students had been to the school for their prospectus.

Apart from the occasional cases when students wanted their courses changed or needed assistance going through the self-placement process, the school had not experienced challenges, she said.

"This is a day school so we do not experience any challenge relating to accommodation or feeding; the process has been smooth so far," she explained.

She added that the COVID-19 preventive measures, such as hand-washing and checking of temperature, as well as social distancing, had been put in place.

PRESEC

At PRESEC, Legon, the school management had different enrolment booths for the various courses, with students, together with their parents, in queues awaiting their turn.

In an interview, the Assistant Headmaster in charge of Academics, Ebo Sey, told the Daily Graphic that the school was admitting about 1,800 students.

“We are taking more than a 1,000 for Science, so we have many people attending to the Science students. We are taking 300 for Business, 300 for General Arts, 150 for Visual Arts and 46 for Agriculture,” he explained.

The school, he said, had made prior provision for the number of students expected and, therefore, had all the necessary facilities to cater for them.

“The online registration has been effective and convenient for both the school and parents. Once they are able to go through the registration online, they come in to confirm and complete the process. That does not take much time, so within a short time we expect that everyone will be attended to,” Mr Sey explained.

Accra Girls

The Assistant Headmaster (Academic) of the Accra Girls’ SHS, Sebastian Adamah, said the boarding house could accommodate about 60 per cent of the students who would be admitted.

However, there were enough facilities to cater for the 900 expected students, with the school adopting the transitional system which allowed only two batches of students in school at a time.

Mr Adamah said students would continue to observe the COVID-19 protocols, emphasising that the wearing of face masks, though not mandatory, would be enforced at massive gatherings.

"Where there are mass gatherings, the students will be required to wear the face masks, but in smaller groups, as in their classrooms, they will be allowed to go about without them,” he said.

No more double track

A parent, Doris Oklu, said she was glad the double-track system was no longer operational, since it caused a lot problems for many parents.

"With the double track, parents had to organise extra classes for their children during their three-month stay at home," she said.

Aquinas admits females

The Daily Graphic also found out that the St Thomas Aquinas SHS, hitherto a male-only school, had admitted two females.

The admission list posted on the administration’s notice board said it expected to admit 29 male students and one female to the Agriculture programme, 135 to Business, 90 to Visual Arts, 246 to General Arts and 242 male students and one female to General Science.

Cape Coast

In the schools visited in Cape Coast, the number of anxious parents and students reporting created traffic congestion in some of the schools.

Some parents who spoke with the Daily Graphic expressed concern about the reporting date for students.

A parent, Derrick Fugu, who had accompanied his child to the Holy Child School, said "the reporting time frame was too short, given that we had to acquire everything on the prospectus”.

Another parent, Linda Homedzie, said "we have had very little time to prepare for this. We were still not sure of the date for reporting and then we suddenly heard they are to report today".