Feature Article of Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Columnist: todaygh.com

GES must intervene in this matter

The much-touted Free Senior High School (SHS) policy by the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) took off last Monday. It was not a smooth take-off as many of us would have expected.

There were some technical hitches which we hope would be fixed with time as we believe the policy will inure to the benefit of the beneficiaries.

However, even though they may not have any direct link with the Free SHS policy, certain complaints have come in the fore during the current admission process, one of which saddens our hearts.

One such complaint is the directive from authorities of Pope John Senior High School (POJOSS) in Koforidua, Eastern Region, that the school will not accept students with the traditional wooden chop boxes.

Furthermore, the authorities announced that each fresh boarding student was expected to bring two cans of insecticide spray.

The underlying reason, we are told, is to control the spread of bedbugs in the school. Indeed, ensuring that POJOSS was free from bedbug infestation was not a bad idea, especially when we know that bedbugs can be a threat to health and a nuisance to students and their quest to learn and excel in a conducive environment.

But, what baffles Today is why the authorities would make it mandatory for students to buy cans of insecticide spray. Should spraying and debugging of the school not be the responsibility of the school authorities?

In the estimation of Today, shifting that responsibility to the students is not right. The school should be put in a conducive manner before the authorities open for new admissions as well as returning students. If they find their dormitories and entire premises not conducive, why are they rushing to re-open?

In any case, for the four to six weeks that the school was on recess, why couldn’t the authorities undertake a debugging exercise?

The fighting off bedbug infestation is not an easy task. It requires adequate fumigation with bedbug insecticides. And if the infestation is bad enough, professional help would have to be brought in. For effective control therefore, there should be a mass spraying exercise in the school if the authorities believe bedbugs are a problem.

The way it is, it looks like the school authorities just want to shift their responsibility to the students and burden them unnecessarily. What we see in all this is that the school is shirking its responsibility and shifting that cost to parents.

We, therefore, ask the Ghana Education Service (GES) to intervene in this matter and ensure that POJOSS takes full responsibility of ensuring an environment free of bedbugs.