Some owners of private Senior High Schools in the Upper East Region are threatening to lay off some of their teaching and non-teaching staff following a successful implementation of the Free Senior High School policy that has taken in almost all the students.
According to authorities of some private SHSs in the region, the implementation of the Free SHS policy had also put a financial burden on the private schools as parents expected them to reduce their fees, hence the need to lay off some staff.
Government, this year rolled out the Free SHS Policy which absorbed the cost of tuition, feeding, textbooks and utility bills which used to be paid by parents.
That policy which has come to salvage the plight of parents and guardians however, is a threat to private SHSs.
Speaking in an interview with the GNA in Bolgatanga, to comment on the effect of the policy on private SHSs, Madam Felicia Baa-an, the accountant of Golden Step SHS in Bolgatanga, said only five students out of fifteen who were given admission had reported to the school as compared to 168 students who were admitted last year.
She said the situation would affect the smooth running of the school as it could not support all the staff hence the authorities’ decision to lay off some of them.
One of the classrooms of the School which would have been used by the first year students was being used to store maize, harvested from the school’s farm.
The situation was not different from the Rock Foundation Senior High School, another private SHS in Bolgatanga, where the Director, Bishop Stephen Apuweni, said the school admitted 64 students last academic year but had so far not taken in any student this year.
Bishop Apuweni said even though the Free SHS policy was laudable, government had failed to consider the private sector during its implementation.
He said the school had to lay off some of its workers as they were no longer needed.
“By laying off workers we are increasing the unemployment problem which is not the best for the economy”, he said.
The authorities of the two private Senior High Schools therefore appealed to the government to reconsider the policy and include the private sector.