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President Nana Akufo-Addo says the decision to implement the Free SHS policy was not influenced by a desire to score political points, but by the need to offer opportunities for Ghanaians, especially the deprived and marginalised.

“The Free Senior High School policy continues to be controversial; some people are determined to make politics out of it.

“For me, it is not about politics, it is about the progress of our country – what kind of education policy we should have that will allow us to move forward quickly.

"They said I couldn’t do it, it will be a reality,” he said.

A research conducted by the University of Ghana, in collaboration with Ghent University, Belgium, has established that consumption of fish smoked with the Chorkor Smoker can cause cancer.

The researchers have, therefore, recommended that Ghanaians use a new fish smoking method, which is an improvement on the Chorkor smoker.


Disseminating the results of the study in Accra on Friday, the researchers recommended the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Thiaroye Technique (FTT), a technique that would improve the system of smoking fish and reduce risk factors in Ghana.

They explained that fish smoked with the Chorkor Smoker and the metal drum kiln, although offered economic gains, contained high levels of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) due to the use of firewood as smoking fuel.

The PAH is a compound produced by incomplete combustion or exposure of organic substances to high temperatures or pressures and contains carcinogens, a compound that is capable of causing cancer.

According to the researchers, exposure to cancer occurred through inhalation, ingestion and skin contact while ingestion was the main route of exposure for non-smokers.

“Although the Chorkor Smoker offered the maximum rate of production and economic gains, the same cannot be said about the safety of the products,” they indicated.


The FTT

In December 2014, the FAO and SNV Netherlands, a development organisation, introduced the FTT in Ghana to address the PAH problem.

The FTT was built on the strengths of existing improved kilns such as the Chorkor Smoker and was named after Thiaroye, a town in Senegal, where it was put together.

It uses sugar cane bagasse, coconut husk, maize cone, and the local chewing sponge as smoking fuel and has a cooking unit, a smoke flavouring unit, a filter and a smoke generation chamber.

Safe products

A researcher, Mr Kennedy Bomfeh, observed that the FTT yielded safe products, whereas traditional kilns yielded products that posed PAH health risks.

“Regardless of the wood type used, traditional kilns yield unsafe products. Consumers may be protected from PAH health risks associated with smoked fish consumption if they consume fish smoked with FTT,” he said.

Mr Bomfeh called on the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to consider the adoption of the FTT in its policy decisions, while he advised fish farmers to employ the technique.

Fish farmers

The Greater Accra President of the National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG), Mrs Doris Ahadzi, called on the government to support fish farmers to obtain and use the FTT.

She stated that fish exported by their members to other consumers had been returned because of the presence of PAH in them.

The Regional Programme Leader and FAO Representative in Ghana, Mr Abebe Haile Gabriel, said the control and reduction of PAHs had become a major concern to fish processors and consumers due to their implication for health.

The deadline for the online placement of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates into the senior high schools under the Computerised School Selection Placement (CSSPS) has been extended to the end of September, the Ministry of Education has said.

A statement signed by the sector minister, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, assured parents and guardians that “no child who qualified to be placed in a public senior high school will be left out.”

The latest directive will bring a huge relief to frustrated parents who were struggling to beat the earlier deadline of midnight of Friday, September 8 for placement of their children.


There was hustle and bustle at the Ghana Education Service (GES) headquarters in Accra yesterday as frustrated parents made last-minute efforts to get placements for their children in the schools.

Hours to the earlier deadline, the challenges with placements had not been fully addressed.

When the Daily Graphic visited the GES head office, it was observed that many parents who looked frustrated and worried were moving in and out of offices to seek solutions to the challenges with their the placement of their children.

A few parents had been able to have their challenges addressed.

Some were directed to the placement centre at Cantonments, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the Ministry of Education to have their issues resolved.

Pouring out their frustrations, some parents said they were still finding it difficult to get placement for their children due to lack of access to the online platforms or did not find any schools with vacancies.

Most of the complaints centred on candidates who had not been placed, who had requested change of placement because they mistakenly self-placed themselves in schools or who wanted to change the schools where they were

originally placed.

Other difficulties had to do with the parents’ inability to access the website given by the ministry for candidates to do self-placement or print their admission letters.

Others said the results of a subject or two of their children had been withheld by WAEC with the excuse of investigating alleged examination malpractices.

Assurance

Last Wednesday, the Ministry of Education gave an assurance that it would do everything possible to ensure that no BECE candidate who had been placed or given the opportunity to select a school would be left behind under the CSSPS.

It admitted that there were challenges facing qualified BECE candidates who had not yet been placed in any school.

“What we are saying is that we will give you the opportunity so that at the end of the two days if your child is not enrolled, we are not going to cut him or her off,” the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Secondary, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, told journalists at a press conference in Accra.

A statement issued by the acting Director-General of the GES, Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, on September 1, this year, said 267,327 out of the 424,092 candidates who qualified for SHS had secured placement in the schools of their choice, while 150,770 candidates could not be placed in the schools of their choice.

Under the arrangement, the educational authorities gave those who could not be placed in the schools of their choice a second chance to go online and select from the options available within 48 hours from last Friday.

It said candidates could check their status from 8 a.m. on September 1, 2017 by logging onto www.myjhsresult.net and then follow the online instructions.

In view of the challenges encountered in the process, the GES extended the grace period to allow the candidates to do self-placement and print their admission letters.

Statistics so far

Out of the 427,000 students who qualified to be placed under the CSSPS, he said, 310,000 had so far printed out their admission letters from the portal and were ready for registration in the schools where they had been placed.

He said out of the 150,770 candidates who were directed to do self-placement, 110,000, representing 70 per cent, had been successful at the time and expressed the hope that by the end of the deadline all the candidates would have done the self-placement and printed their admission letters.

Interviews

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, a couple of parents said they were told that nothing could be done about their situation because they had done self-placement.

Those the Daily Graphic spoke to included Madam Elizabeth Mensah, Mr Charles Opoku and Mrs Stella Oppong.

Another parent, Ms Delight Badu, who shared similar frustration, said when her niece, who had lived and schooled in the Northern Region, went to the Internet Café to check which schools were available with the self-placement system, the café attendant chose a school for her in the Eastern Region without her consent but all efforts to correct it had proven futile.

The Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly [CCMA] says it has given the go ahead for petty traders who have been allocated stalls at the new Kotokuraba market to make modifications to make them more habitable for business.

This calls the design of the facility into question. A few traders who have moved there have lauded the level of security but criticised aspects of the design and the fact that there is no electricity power.

Many of those who have been allocated stalls are yet to move in. One of the traders who spoke with ATL FM said many of those allocated stalls prefer hawking on the shoulders of the road because business is dull and yet to pick up in the market.