Tuesday, 12 January 2016


In this first part of an elaborate idea, Koomson tackles the high burden of Senior High education on government and makes the case against government's continuous struggle with that burden. Find out what he proposes

Ask anybody who went to school in Ghana, the school they attended and without thinking twice (if they went beyond Junior High), you will hear names like Persco, Kwabotwe, Santa, Apsu, Amanfo), Odadee, Rosa, Holico and many more. All these  are the popular names of some of the prestigious senior high schools in Ghana. Unfortunately there are few of such schools in Ghana and there are so much pressure on such school.

This is probably due to the fact that the secondary school is the major development stage for us in our educational career. It may also be as a result of the fact that, that is the stage where we first develop strong ties with others aside our immediate family and many other reasons. Whatever the reason is your secondary is always your pride if you schooled in Ghana.

As at 2014, there were 849 Senior High Schools in Ghana, 556 of which were owned and managed by the government. Ordinarily, the large number of schools should be a good basis for producing many educated people for our country. Unfortunately, only a few of the 556 “schools” are actually schools. This statement will not sound well to many but if you attended a school like what I attended, you will understand.

I made the above statement because if you check the records of the number of students the various universities admit every year, you will notice that many of the students who get admitted come from a few elite schools in the country and the rest come as supplementary to fill up the left over space. ch This is true and I am a living testimony to that situation. I went to a school which registered 263 students to write the WASSCE for my year group and only 2 of us made it to the university of Ghana that same year. Look at all the other universities in Ghana and find the average.

The Problem

The major problem is that majority of the schools lack resources to operate properly as a school. They rely on government subsidies to run the schools. Apart from the subversion being woefully inadequate, the management of the schools go through hell before they get access to the funds. Like many other sectors of our economy, governments upon governments have taken these burdens even though they are unable to carry them out properly. The results is the poor management and operation of some schools. It is common to hear the association of government assisted secondary schools complaining of delayed payments of subvention and accrued debts to suppliers. Just a week ago there was a news report of how some students in a particular school have vacated their rooms because of bed bugs.

How on earth can any headmaster run a school with a sound mind to achieve the desired results if he has all these problems on his head? How on earth can students also study and understand what they study in such an environment called a school.

From all indications, government lacks the wherewithal to continue to bear the burden of funding all the numerous (and increasing) Senior High Schools in Ghana. The best thing is to let go those that are capable of being managed by others other than government. This will free up both financial and logistical space for the less privileged ones to be well catered for.

Wondering how this can be done? Watch out for the second part of the article 

Samuel Koomson
Co-founder, Peace and Security Forum 

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