Prof Gyampo’s bold statement that teachers employed by the Ghana Education Service are scared to speak against the challenges bedeviling the Free SHS was not a good guess, but the reality on the ground.
In a poll conducted by Ghanaeducation.org to test the validity of the statement, we found out that 78% of teachers agree with the University of Ghana professor.
There are challenges facing the Free SHS policy implementation. Just as Headteachers can not publicly make any negative but truthful pronouncements, their teachers are more scared to alter a word about it.
We sought to find out if the Free SHS was really working per the expectations of teachers.
While 14% said yes it was working perfectly, 50% yes it was working but needed improvements while another 36% felt the Free SHS was not working at all.
Which of these needs to change or done to improve on the Free SHS?
The educators who responded to our anonymous poll belie that, the Free SHS can be better implemented if steps are taking to work on the problems hindering its effectiveness and efficiency.
30% hold the view that, if the government builds more schools it could help solve some of the Free SHS problems; another 37% felt the government needs to scrap the track system out of the Free SHS. Thus, increased infrastructure and facilities can deal with the biggest bottleneck facing the effective implementation of the Free SHS by the government.
Out of the educators that responded to the poll, 26% called for the government to subsidize the fees and channel the rest of the resources toward the provision of essential school infrastructure. Another 5% called for a Free SHS that is competitive, while 2% believe the Free SHS should be implemented in only category C schools.
If educators are making these laudable suggestions, then we can conclude that, they have been given a listening ear and that Prof. Gyampo did not miss the mark with his statement that teachers are scared to publicly speak against the Free SHS system and the challenges that come with it.
Whiles 78% of teachers are scared to speak about Free SHS and its challenges, political players do not want the policy to be ridiculed.
The double-track has hit the SHS1 students and we have an academic calendar for SHS that does not make being an SHS student interesting, rewarding and helpful.
The more teachers scared are to speak about Free SHS challenges, the more difficult it will be to find solutions to the problems facing the policy. Teachers are stakeholders, and the Teacher Unions must begin to increase their rather loud silence on the Free SHS policy.
However, it is constructive criticisms from well-meaning Ghanaians and political opponents that can help the nation to do the right things and correct the challenges confronting the Free SHS.
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