Special schools can’t reopen due to feeding grant arrears

The Conference of Heads of Special Schools (COHESS) has decided to put on hold the reopening of the schools until feeding grants are released.

It has, therefore, directed all heads of the 24 special schools in the country not to reopen the schools until further notice.  

The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of members of COHESS last Friday, May 9, 2014.

A letter signed by the President of COHESS, Rev Charles Gbekle, to the Ministry of Education, a copy of which the Daily Graphic has, said: “At an emergency meeting of the members of COHESS on 9th May, 2014, special schools are not to reopen till feeding grants are released to the various schools.”

The special schools have been in arrears of feeding and utility grants since January this year, a situation which has made it impossible for the schools to resume this term.

The schools were expected to reopen for academic work last Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

When contacted, Rev Gbekle said the government had been paying the utility bills of all special schools until last term when a directive came from the Ministry of Finance for the schools to pay their own utilities.

“How can we reopen when we are in arrears of thousands of Ghana cedis from creditors and suppliers?” he asked.

He said most of the special schools had been in darkness for a greater part of last term as a result of their inability to pay the huge electricity bills.

He said no special school could reopen because of the challenges that had bedeviled the institutions and thousands of their students.   

“There is a lot of pressure and difficulty in the administration of these special institutions, since they virtually have to rely on well-wishers to remain in operation,” Rev Gbekle said.

The Daily Graphic published a story in its Tuesday, May 6, 2014 edition, in which the Principal of the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind, Mr Setumte Dodzi Ametewee, hinted of the school’s inability to reopen as a result of financial difficulties.

That, he said, was because the institution had not received its grant for administration and service since 2011, a situation which had landed it in a debt of GH¢85,000 owed to those who supplied it with food and other items.

At the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind, students who reported for school yesterday were asked to go home because it was yet to receive the feeding grant from the government. 

Attempts to reach officials of the Ghana Education Service to comment on the issue proved futile as calls were either not answered or did not go through.

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