Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education, has said the Government has agreed with the West African Examination Council (WAEC) not to start the West African Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) from February.
He said WASSE candidates would write the examination in May starting with oral and practical examinations, while the theories would commence in June so that teachers could cover the syllabus within nine terms.
Dr Prempeh noted that the SHS syllabus was for nine terms but because of delays in placement of students into SHS, only six terms were covered and, therefore, making it difficult for both teachers and students to complete the entire syllabus.
This, he said, often adversely affected students’ performances at the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).
“So we will make sure the nine terms were filled and improve the learning outcomes and record good performances,” he said.
Dr Prempeh, who is also the Member of Parliament for Manhyia South, said this at the Meet-the-Press Series in Accra to address concerns raised by the public regarding the implementation of the Free SHS Policy and other education related issues.
He said almost 90 per cent of students who did self-placement had admission while head teachers of the SHSs were given laptop computers and application to follow the placement of candidates into their schools.
The Minister said a lump sum of money was given to the schools based on the number of students enrolled in a particular school and said out of 674 SHSs in the country only 100 had submitted their returns as of November 30.
On procurement of items for the fresh students, he said the Free SHS Implementation Committee worked in tandem with all the stakeholders, which enhanced transparency and accountability.
The Minister said head teachers that wanted the supply of perishable items had been directed to register with the National Buffer Stock adding that out of 674 SHSs only 250 had registered their suppliers with the Buffer Stock.
He refuted claims that government had imposed suppliers of items on schools.
Dr Prempeh said government wanted every student enjoying the benefits of the Free SHS Policy to be served healthy meals and warned that any head that would do contrary would suffer consequences.
On medical examination of fresh students, he said the Ghana Education Service (GHS) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ghana Health Service to perform the medical examination and the GHȼ15.00 medical fees for each student would be paid to the GHS.
Touching on utilities, he said the Government would pay at source to the Electricity Company of Ghana to prevent power cuts at the schools.
He cautioned head teachers not to collect utility fees from students and indicated that heads that would go contrary would have themselves to blame.
Dr Prempeh gave the assurance that government was putting in place measures to contain the challenges inherent in the policy implementation.
He warned that head teachers or suppliers that cheated or smuggled items purchased for their schools would not be spared and urged the citizenry to report any incidence of pilfering or smuggling to the authorities for the necessary action to be taken.