The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) has pleaded with the government to pay the longstanding arrears of boarding grants meant for the second-cycle institutions in the Upper East region as reopening nears.

“The challenges, number one is our boarding grants. It is in arrears of two terms. And you know, that is what has helped us to implement the free SHS. You know the new system, the food items and the money for ingredients were not released early. But you know, if you have your children, you don’t discriminate; so, we used that to manage for the free SHS.”

“It’s in arrears of two terms. We are just on our knees begging if they even release one term. As for us, we are able to manage debts. Our counterparts down south normally ask us, ‘How are you able to manage?’ But we are able to manage. We are saying that if you release one term for us, we won’t have problems. We’ll be able to reopen and, then, manage until a time that everything settles down,” Francisca Yizura added.

READ ALSO: Double-track system won’t fail – Akufo-Addo

She said this when heads of second-cycle schools in the region met with the Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukhari, in Bolgatanga to discuss preparations for the next academic year.

She added that beds and other furniture provided for the students and teachers in the region are inadequate.

“We also have a challenge of furniture. Classroom furniture, dining hall furniture and the bunk beds, we have a challenge on that. You know the wood is not good. Every year, they get broken, we repair and they break down. And, then, the uncompleted structures— classrooms and dormitory blocks, and the vehicles. It’s a challenge."

“Then, we have a problem of staffing. We are very grateful that the government recruited the teachers and it’s still in the process of recruiting the teachers. And I know those who went on study leave, they are in. Director is in the process of posting them to us.”

She added: “But the nonteaching staff, especially the kitchen and the security [are not there]. That is what would derail the efforts made by the government on the implementation of the free SHS and the tracking system. Some of them have retired and in the recent recruitment, we didn’t get enough. If care is not taken, some of the kitchens would start closing down.”

READ ALSO: Degree holders not qualified to teach at SHS – GES warns

In responding to some of the requests, the Regional Minister disclosed that some furniture meant for the schools in the region had mysteriously gone missing.

“As for the furniture, it’s unfortunate. If you look at records, furniture for this region, you would be sad. We never saw them. Money was paid for furniture. It’s not good for us."

“I will not destroy anybody. Furniture was given to this region. But where is the furniture? Paid for, but where is it? If you cheat your fellow human being, can you sleep? Let us see what we can do. It’s very serious,” Mr. Bukari added.