Headmasters defy order not to collect advance fees (March 17) Page 16
The practice of some heads of senior high schools (SHSs) collecting school fees for the second and the third terms from students preparing for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) still persists, contrary to a directive from the Ministry of Education to stop the act.
Schools including the Begoro SHS, Mawuli SHS and the Presbyterian Boys’ SHS, Legon (PRESEC) have demanded the payment of the fees for the two terms even before the second term ends.
Form Three students in these boarding schools went home for the Christmas holidays with bills asking their parents and guardians to pay the second and third term fees of their children and wards.
While Mawuli SHS in Ho demanded GH¢473.50 and GH¢328 as second and third term fees, respectively, Suhum SHS had a combined bill of GH¢722.70 and GH¢782 for the second and third terms, respectively.
Interestingly, students of Suhum SHS had to pay double parent-teacher association (PTA) dues in the second term. One was labelled as PTA dues (GH¢37), another one as PTA dues 3rd Term (GH¢37), with yet another one on the third term bill labelled as PTA Levy (for projects) (GH¢60).
For students of PRESEC, Legon, while the second term fees are GH¢385.50, those for the third term are GH¢291.50.
In the case of students of the Begoro Presbyterian SHS, the fees were GH¢466 and GH¢324 for the second and third terms, respectively.
Tim Dzamboe reports from Ho that at Mawuli SHS, some final-year students have been refused entry into the classrooms for failing to settle their PTA dues.
This is a subtle attempt to collect the second and third term fees being demanded by some SHSs.
A parent of a final-year student told the Daily Graphic that a letter was issued to him to pay the second and third term fees, but when the Ministry of Education came out with the directive that schools should not collect third term fees, the school rather insisted on the payment of PTA dues.
School heads could face sanctions
But speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic, a Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Alex Kyeremeh, condemned the act and warned that the heads of schools demanding full first and second term fees could face sanctions if complaints against their actions reached a committee established by the ministry.
“We have communicated this to all heads of schools unambiguously. If anybody is engaged in that, it is on their own volition and they could be sanctioned,” he said.
Under the GES disciplinary code, school heads who defy directives from the GES or the ministry face demotion, suspension and even a sack, depending on the gravity of the offence.
Efforts to contact the school heads proved futile, but some of the students confirmed that they had paid the fees for the two terms.
The Ministry of Education had, in a press statement signed by the Minister, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman, and released on January 13, this year, warned heads of SHSs against compelling final-year students to pay fees for two terms in advance.
It said any school head found doing that would have himself/herself to blame.
According to the statement, a task force had been set up to visit the schools to monitor the situation.
It noted that it had received information indicating that some heads of schools continued to deliberately charge unapproved fees.
It said the ministry was currently in possession of copies of a number of second term bills from some SHSs and technical institutions which were above the approved fees.
“All these are unacceptable and a complete disruption of government’s effort at making education accessible to all Ghanaian citizens and also a calculated attempt to derail the objective of the school fees standardisation exercise undertaken by the ministry, in collaboration with the GES and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS),” it said.