Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education has parried some reports in the media which seeks to downplay the success of the government’s Free Senior High School program.
A Joy FM report on free SHS discusses the challenges bedeviling the implementation of the pro-poor policy. Teachers, parents and students shared their challenges regarding the implementation of the programme on the Show.
Among the challenges confronting the free SHS programme that were mentioned are; lack of accommodation facilities resulting in students sleeping on the floor, congestion in classrooms, inconvenience relating to erratic schedules for the double-track system, poor quality of food served to students, little attention to end of semester examinations and minimal contact hours.
But speaking on Metro TVs Good Evening Ghana program, Dr Adutwum who conceded that in some cases a few issues have popped up, suggested that the reports were exaggerated to suit a narrative.
He explained that most of the issues highlighted in the reports could have been solved by the heads of the school without necessarily courting the attention of the Ghana Education Service.
He bemoaned that the principles of journalism were not followed as neither the Ministry nor Ghana Education Service was given the platform to speak to the allegations.
“We were not given any notification. We attempted through so many means to respond and for them to bring us on the show but they said no. They run this thing for three days continuously without giving us the opportunity to respond. What journalism does is research and probe something and then reach out to get the person’s side of the story.
“So, at minimum, you know that there is going to be a show about your program but they didn’t tell us and when we try to get on they said nope. They said after four days of this onslaught, they want him to come tomorrow. What I’m saying is at least give us a chance.”
Yaw Adutwum urged Ghanaians to keep faith with the government over its commitment to delivering free and quality education.
He encouraged various heads of schools not to be discouraged by the report and to work hard for their students and the country.
He also denied allegations that teachers and students who speak out on challenges in their schools are victimized.
“When you put out a story like that, you are saying we have headmasters who do not care but my headmasters really care. I don’t believe that story because that guy who claims to be a headmaster was making serious contradictory statements. He was saying they give the students books but they require them to leave the books behind for other students. That has always been the case.
On victimization of students and teachers who speak out, he said “this is a Gestapo kind of thing. I can’t believe it. In the Fourth Republican Constitution of Ghana, there is a security apparatus that spy on school heads. I haven’t seen anything like that.”
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