The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) has fallen on its own rough daggers in its demand for a review of the Free Senior High School (Free SHS) after three years of implementation.
The CHASS, in raising the need for the review, was hazy and dodgy, as the whole agenda was based on the reintroduction of Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) dues.
The conference holds the view that the policy implementation started three years ago has resulted in the collapse of PTAs across the country, which is responsible for many abandoned projects and support for schools.
Speaking at the 5Th Annual Conference of CHASS at Cape Coast, the president of CHASS, Yakubu Abubakar, asked the Ghana Education Service (GES) and relevant stakeholders to look at the possibility of reversing that part of the policy to enable school authorities to discharge their duties effectively.
Government in introducing the Free SHS banned the payment of PTA levies which did not permit some qualified students to attend SHS because their parents could not afford to pay those levies.
In 2016, the results of some 51, 495 PTA/Fee-owing candidates were blocked, a situation that prevented some of them from gaining admission into tertiary institutes, although they were fully qualified.
It is instructive to know that PTAs are a voluntary association and have nothing to do with the Free SHS.
Again, the argument by CHASS on development projects, among others, is totally flawed, as old students of various secondary schools give to their schools.
In addition to that, Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) still give to schools, in addition to government support.
Elsewhere, it is at the discretion of the parents to be part of the PTA and heads of schools do not have a say in what the PTA does.
School principals and teachers do not even know which parents are in the PTA.
There are murmurings within the public space that heads of schools are looking for avenues to collect monies from parents, as it was the situation in the past.
Although, the CHASS is one way in the demand for review of the Free SHS, there are ongoing reviews that are already being carried out the Ministry of Education and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.
The curriculum for secondary education is under review to ensure SHS education is not only preparation for university education, but also for other career pathways and the world of work.
The first four years of secondary education (B7 to B10) is now designated as the Common Core Programme (CCP), the curriculum for it which is currently ready for use by students starting from the 2021/22 academic year.
This pioneering cohort will reach SHS or (B10) in January 2024 by which time a lot of preparation, inputs and logistics will have been put in place in schools to support the programmes in the two career pathways to be designed for students in the final years of SHS education (i.e. B11 & B12).
This means that GES will continue to run the current programmes at the SHS level for the next three years.
There are suggestions that the CHASS would do its members a lot of good if it were to organize them into professional learning communities (PLC) that would engage in regular continuing professional development (CPD), focusing on how to deal with the diversity of learners or manage inclusivity in the free SHS system. This will be easy because government has made available allowances for CPD to their members.