Free SHS: Frustrated parents turn to ‘good’ private SHSs

General News of Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Source: Kojo Mensah

2017-09-06

The ‘Free SHS’ programme is set to take off on September 13, 2017.

Even before the much–touted Free Senior High School is fully rolled out as part of the campaign promise of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), would-be beneficiaries of the policy have become indifferent.

A barrage of frustrations that have characterized the implementation of the exercise has made Free SHS a turn-off.

In the wake of the Ministry of Education, through the Ghana Education Service (GES)’s announcement of the Computer Placement System for the selection of students for the various Senior High Secondary Schools (SHS) across the country, parents are looking elsewhere for quality education for their wards.

It is even speculated that the government is intentionally frustrating parents in the process for them not to opt for the government schools to beat down the numbers of admission to enable the government to raise the needed funds for the exercise.

The teething problems associated with the implementation of the exercise have pushed some parents to seek solace in some of the good private secondary schools across the country.

Some of the private Secondary Schools that have had their admission processes soared in the wake of the free SHS challenges in the Central Region and in the Greater Accra Region are St. Andrews Senior High School and Ideal College respectively.

The genesis of the school was at Assin Fosu on the October 5, 2005 with 25 students and five tutors but currently operates from four additional campuses, namely Mankessim, New Edubiase, Dunkwa-On-Offin and Bonus Nkwanta

Speaking at a press conference to announce the success chalked by St. Andrews Senior High Secondary School in the last West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSE), Dr. Richard Kofi Asiedu, proprietor of the school, said in spite of the myriad of problems that has bedevilled the efforts of private schools, the sector continues to chalk successes in the academic front.

According to him, even though the private schools are disadvantaged with huge financial burdens, as well as lack of logistics, yet managers of such institutions have exhibited efficiency in tuition in the country.

‘’The aroma of such feat ought not to be swept under the carpet since it has the tendency to serve as a catalyst in the private education sector.

“For me, the achievements attained by the private schools could not have been possible but for the prudent measures instituted by the management of these schools.’.

He explained that the schools have helped shaped the fortunes of students who, hitherto, would have been left to their fate in the Assin Fosu area in the region.

The proprietor said the achievements of the school in the 2017 WASCE and the results are unparallel in the history of private secondary education in the country.

Highlighting the WASCE success, he said out of the 212 students who were presented for the exams, 194 students obtained an appreciable grades between A1 and C6 in all subjects which automatically qualifies them entry into the tertiary institutions in Ghana and across the world.

He said out of the qualified students, the highest had aggregate 9 and the lowest was aggregate 7, but most aggregates were ranged between 10 and 15, with several students obtaining diverse impressive grades while 51 of them had A1? in their various subjects.

He further indicated that the overall impressive results, 18 students who could not enter the university, however, gained admissions to various post-secondary institutions, such as the Teacher and the Nursing Training Colleges for further studies.

‘’The following were some of the measures that were put in place and which helped to yield the positive results including; making all the Form 3 students boarders, cancellation of mid-terms break for students, operating of supermarket to cater for students needs and barbering and hairdressing salon located on campus.

Others are abolishing the use of mobile phones which takes students time, repetition and scrutiny of students who perform abysmally in the promotional exams, ensuring that discipline was observed at its best in all segments of life on campus.

Touching on the prospect of the school, he said in the 2018/2019 academic year, the school would change over from day and operate a full time boarding system in all its five campuses just as in the case of the grade ‘A’ schools, such as St. Augustine’s, Wesley Girls, Mfantsipim, Aburi Girls and Adisadel College, to name a few.

St. Andrews SHS, according to Dr. Asiedu has been two times recipient of the “Best Private SHS Award for the year 2014 and 2016 respectively which was monitored by the West African International Magazine.

The school pursues General Arts, Business, Home Economics, Agricultural Science, Visual Art and General Science was said to have produced the highest number ever in the history of WAEC/WASCE Examinations with Candidates of 1,812 at a sitting in 2013 a proud record according to the Founder and Proprietor of the school is unparalleled and yet to be broken.

The St. Andrews School, in a befitting recognition for its enviable systematic academic achievements, is now recognized as an Examination Centre for both May/June and Nov/Dec WAEC Examinations, besides the recognition from the GES.

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