Free SHS: Eduwatch scolds govt over debt owed uniforms and food suppliers

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Kofi Asare

The Africa Education Watch says the continuous demand for arrears by the National Association of Institutional Suppliers and National Food Suppliers is a clear indication that the government is unable to effectively run the Free Senior High School (FSHS) policy.

This follows a two-week ultimatum issued to the government by the National Association of Institutional Suppliers to pay monies owed them since last year.

The group is in charge of the production and supply of school uniforms to students in public schools.

Executive Director of Africa Education Watch Kofi Asare, in an interview, says it would be prudent for the government to review the FSHS policy immediately.

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“Even though we are still in the COVID crisis, the issue of school uniforms and food supply is simply a matter of the government’s inability to finance the FSHS programme effectively and fully. I am saying this because, in the past six years, the government has barely released 65% of the allocated funds for the FSHS programme by the end of the year. So, if you have a programme where disbursement is averaging 60% every year for the past six years, you are obviously going to run into such levels of debts.”

Asare also called on the government to pay the monies owed the National Association of Institutional Suppliers and cancel the uniform contract.

“Parents have the responsibility of buying school uniforms for their children. Parents were buying school uniforms for their children when they were in junior high school. It beats my mind that immediately they enter senior high school, one parent becomes so poor that they cannot clothe their own children.”

“It doesn’t make any economic sense. So, the government should cancel all those contracts, pay off the debts, and freeze that needless expenditure. They should focus the resources we have on critical teaching and learning materials that reasonably poor parents cannot afford.”

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