Vice-President of Imani Africa, Bright Simons

Honourary Vice President at IMANI Africa, Bright Simons has projected that government’s Free SHS policy may soon dilute the quality of public second cycled schools across the country.

According to him, if care is not taken, public secondary schools in Ghana may soon become like ‘syto’.

‘Syto’ is a slang in the local Ghanaian parlance which refers to public basic schools which lack quality tuition and other relevant teaching and learning facilities.

“Free SHS will end up turning all the public secondary schools in Gh into “syto” like it happened with primary schools. Just as analysts predicted. BUT it has become Ghana’s version of the UK’s NHS. No one can touch it! Politicians can only compete on who will INVEST MORE into it”, he said in a tweet on Friday.

Free SHS may turn all public secondary schools to 'syto' - Bright Simons
Bright Simons’ tweet on Free SHS

Bright Simons’ comment comes in the wake of recent food shortages which have hit some senior high schools across the country.

The situation has subsequently forced some school authorities to consider closing down their schools due to the challenge.

When JoyNews paid a visit to some affected schools, some students said that the situation is having a negative impact on their studies, and thus they want government to deal rapidly with the situation.

At the moment, reports indicate that there is an anxious wait for food supplies in senior high schools across the country as students are forced to feed on the little available.

As a result, heads of second cycle schools in the Eastern Region may be making a strong push for a shutdown. They insist running the schools has become a herculean task.

The situation is however not any different in other schools.

In the Upper West Region, schools are yet to receive food items promised by the Ministry of Education.

Students at Wa Technical School expressed their frustration with the food shortage in an interview with JoyNews’ Rafiq Salam.

According to them, their studies have been affected as a result of the situation, adding that “most students have not even reported because of the shortage of food”.

“Since there has been food shortage, our studies have not been normal .. when you go and take breakfast, there is no sugar which is affecting us…in fact, we are really dying”, a student said.

Another student said: “Some of us when reporting to school, we did not get money to buy gari, sugar, milo and others so as we are in school right now, studies is really difficult for us”.

The students also complained about lack of variety in the dish served to them.

“For the past two months, we have been taking ‘tuo zaafi’ as supper. Every evening we take TZ but normally we used to take banku and TZ, but nowadays it is only TZ”.

In the Central Region, the situation is the same. JoyNews’ Richard Kwadwo Nyarko reports that schools are borrowing food from neighboring schools that have more in order to feed students.

However, there is some good news in the Upper East Region, as some schools have taken delivery of food items.

Meanwhile, Educationist, Prof Ivan Addae Mensah says government must urgently decentralize food supply to schools.

“People always talk of the possibility of heads being corrupted. Of course there may be a few cases but the majority of heads are very honest. They care about the school children”, he said.

He added that, if the Free Senior High School programme is not reviewed to allow some parents pay fees, the situation will only get worse.