General News of Saturday, 26 May 2018
The Headmaster of Techiman Senior High School (TESS) has urged government not to solely rely on oil revenue to fund its flagship education programme, the Free Senior High.
According to Jacob Afful, government should pay critical attention to other natural resources the nation is endowed with, to support the programme.
His comments come on the back of a visit to the school by a team from the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and a team of journalists with the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ) who are on a tour of the Brong Ahafo region to assess the impact of oil-revenue funded projects.
Mr. Afful, who described the free SHS policy as a ‘noble course’, expressed concern that the programme must be sustained for future generations with alternative sources of funding, given that oil find is not permanent.
“The oil is for Ghana but we all know that this resource is very limited. We’re only praying that Ghana doesn’t put all its eggs in one basket. Before the advent of oil, cocoa has been able to look after Ghana, education and everything was spent using cocoa money. We shouldn’t place all our emphasis on oil forgetting about cocoa and now that I am in Brong Ahafo, let me talk about cashew.”
He added: “Let’s go on to other areas, so that we do not depend on oil alone and have the Dutch disease that people have been talking about. We should find other means of funding the free senior high school policy because it is a very good idea, it is laudable and to train the future manpower of the nation, is key to our development.”
Mr. Afful acknowledged receipt of stationery like textbooks, school uniforms, school jerseys, perishables and other food supply from the National Buffer Stock. He further indicated that enrolment had slightly improved at the Techiman Senior High School with the free senior high school policy.
Mr. Afful, however, expressed worry that the seeming delay in the release of funds is hampering the effective and smooth running of the school’s activities.
In a related development, Headmaster of the Nkoranza Secondary Technical in the Nkoranza South District, Ata Amponsah Frimpong noted that the inadequate budget allocation, delay in the release of their imbursement and rampant change of food suppliers must be seriously addressed to realise the real benefits of the Free Senior High School Programme.
Aside education, government has revealed it will invest oil-revenue in other critical areas including modernizing agriculture, physical infrastructure and service delivery in health.
The 2018 District Engagement and Oil Revenue Funded Project Monitoring by PIAC in collaboration with IFEJ and supported by the German Development Co-operation (GIZ) is to ensure the prudent utilization of oil revenues under the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, (ACT 815).