Dambai teacher trainees protest over illegal fees

•   Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang — Minister of Education

• Prof. Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang — Minister of Education

The Dambai College of Education in the Krachi East District of the Volta Region, is sitting on a powder keg of student violence, following the charging of fees considered by the students as illegal.

The students, who spoke to The Ghanaian Times at the weekend, said they were asked by the management of the college to pay for services not provided — a situation they said was building a lot of tension silently.

They are protesting especially against the payment of internet subscription of GH¢65 which they claimed had never been provided, “even though we have been forced to pay every semester.

“Any time we complained, we were greeted with verbal attacks and threats of dismissal,” they claimed.

A document The Ghanaian Times chanced on, indicated that the students were already paying GH¢55 as Computer Laboratory/ICT fees.

“Again, they collect Sanitation and Environment Fees of GH¢38 from us even though we do the clearing ourselves. We also pay GH¢20 for first aid when there is no such facility.”

They further complained about the payment of a developmental levy of GH¢30, a fee they described as illegitimate “because it is the Students Representative Council (SRC) that takes care of developments in the school, and yet does not benefit from that fee” .

When contacted on Monday, the Vice Principal of the college, Ms. Veronica Kluyibor, said monies charged the students for the use of the facilities were fixed by the National Conference of Principals of Colleges of Education (PRINCOF), adding that once the computer laboratory was connected to the internet, the students had to pay for it.

“Aside from that, we have engaged the services of an expert we pay to take the students through Information Technology (IT),” she added.

However, a source at the PRINCOF office revealed that the internet user fee was not on the PRINCOF items list for payment. “What we have here is Computer Laboratory/ICT for which students have been asked to pay GH¢55”.

On the payment of GH¢65 bed user-fee which was also one of the causes of the student agitation, the PRINCOF source told The Ghanaian Times that “once the student pays the residential facilities maintenance fee of GH¢50, that should as well take care of the bed-user fee”.

But Ms. Kluyibor insisted the college had done nothing illegal, and also denied claims by the students that there was no first aid support for them.

“We have a first aid facility and also hire labourers to tidy up the school, as well as do occasional fumigation; so what are they talking about?,” she quizzed.

Mrs Kluyibor told The Ghanaian Times that she was not aware of any tension, “except for the fact that just like any institution, you don’t expect students to be on good terms with everybody, including lecturers and other management staff”.

Dambai College of Education, formerly known as Dambai Teacher Training College, was established in 1974, and currently has a student population of 700.

Dambai is the capital of the Krachi East District, in the northern part of the Volta Region.

By John Vigah     

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