The University of Cape Coast’s (UCC)’s recent conferment of a honorary Doctor of Philosophy in Education Leadership degree on President Akufo Addo specifically for his Free Senior High School (SHS) policy has been marred by the near-collapse.
The irony confronting the Free SHS policy is that parents are bitterly complaining that the haphazard nature of the school calendar, they have been forced to cough up more funds on extra classes than they would have done if the Free SHS was not in operation.
Some others have been surreptitiously forced by school heads to pay sums ranging from GHC 500 to GHC 1000 per month on questionable bills in the school, forcing the Ministry of Education to issue a stern warning against fee-paying.
On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, some angry parents of high school students called into the studios of Accra-based Joy FM to complain bitterly about the quantum of money the Free SHS has forced them to pay for their wards.
One parent in an interview monitored by Whatsup News on Joy FM disclosed that the controversial “double track” or shift system of education adopted by the Akufo Addo administration to accommodate the huge number of beneficiaries of the policy has resulted in poor tuition which has forced parents to organise extra classes for their children.
“…I have them enrolled in the normal classes which were organised by their schools. And with that, I had to pay 500 cedis each and if I’m not able to send them to school, I have to give them like 25 cedis each, a day, before they can attend the class,” a parent who introduced herself simply as “Nana” stated.
Another one who identified himself as Kojo, raised the same contention, stating that, he pays some GHC 350 on extra classes for his ward.
“In fact, the free education is causing we parents many problems. Currently, as my son is at home, I pay not less than 350 cedis every month for classes and besides, I have to buy data of not less than GHC 60 every week,” Kojo lamented.
The complaints of other parents about the Free SHS is how the quality of food and accommodation have been short-changed because of the free education programme of the government.
Recently, the government announced that it will phase out the double-track system, in what critics attribute to how it has compromised the quality of education in the country.
Meanwhile, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana, Dr. Ebo Turkson has proposed that for the Free SHS to survive in the long term, well-to-do parents should be allowed to pay the fees of their children to reduce the financial burden on the government.
Amidst these nagging problems, critics have questioned the rationale for the UCC granting the President a doctorate in education leadership.
Whatsup News has gathered from reliable sources that the award may have been cooked from the Jubilee House as it did not go through the usual route of a member of the academic or management of the school recommending the president for the award.
The suggestion for the honorary degree reportedly came directly from the University Council which contains over 5 members appointed by the President, as well as the Vice-Chancellor who was also appointed by the President.
Normally, such steps require a nomination of the prospective awardee by an academic or management staff of the university. Afterwards, the Academic Board evaluates the nomination before it is finally passed to the University Council.
Insiders say the entire chain was circumvented and even some members of the University Council only yesterday got letters of invitation to the award ceremony on May 29, 2021.
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