The Conference of Heads of Basic Schools (COHBS) is asking the government to promptly pay the utility bills of basic schools to reduce the burden on school authorities.

The Conference says its members who are indebted to utility service providers have had water, electricity, and sanitation services truncated, following the government’s failure to settle the bills.

Ashanti Regional Chairman, Christopher Barnie, tells Joynews the failure of the government to absorb the utility bills of basic schools, as has been the case with second-cycle schools, amounts to neglect.

The Conference of Heads of Basic Schools cites the delayed release of the Capitation Grant, infrastructure deficits, lack of textbooks, especially for kindergarten pupils, and unhygienic sanitary facilities, as some of the pressing needs of basic schools.

They also cite high insecurity as well as encroachment of school lands among challenges.

COHBS www.myjoyonline.com
Some Ashanti regional Executives of COHBS at the meeting

COHBS accuses the government of paying too much attention to second-cycle education at the expense of the basic level.

It comes as the learning and teaching of Information Communication Technology (ICT) is in limbo in some basic schools across the country as they experience power cuts.

The Conference of Heads of Basic Schools (COHBS) is worried its members are faced with high utility bills as the government fails to absorb their debt.

The development, according to COHBS, has crippled the practical teaching of ICT at the basic level.

Ashanti Regional Chairman, Christopher Barnie, while addressing members at a regional executive committee meeting, asked the government to ease basic schools from the burden of high utility bills.

“Schools are burdened with the challenge of paying utility bills ; adding straight to their financial resources,” he  said.

“Some are owing GHȼ20,000 in water bills. Others are owing GHȼ10,000and so on. So if a school is paying about GHȼ500 a month and the Capitation Grant received is GHȼ800 even that’s where the population is very high. How can you pay electricity bills”?

Conference of Heads of Basic Schools www.myjoyonline.com
Mr. Christopher Barnie Conference of Heads of Basic Schools at the meeting

According to Mr. Barnie, the intervention of government is needed urgently to address the concerns of the head teachers.

“We appeal to government to take responsibility for settling all utility bills in our schools.

The Conference of Heads of Basic Schools also wants the government to be consistent in the release of the Capitation Grant which they describe as ‘meagre’ while making an attempt to improve teaching and learning outcomes at basic schools.

“Capitation Grant release is not adhering to the agreed ten cedis per child per year, poses a significant obstacle to effective school management.” Mr. Barnie said.

Meanwhile, the group is proposing a meeting with the Education Minister to address their concerns.

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