Illegal fees worry parents

Some parents in the Sunyani municipality have expressed worry about unauthorised fees being charged by some basic schools.
They mentioned some of the alleged unauthorised fees as maintenance, security, cultural, fence wall, paint, computer and classes’ fees, among others.
The parents raised the concerns at a forum on the capitation grant at Baakoniaba in the Sunyani municipality.
The forum was organised by the Local Accountability Network, a group of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that seek to promote education and health in the municipality, with support from the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), another NGO.
The parents questioned why educational heads should charge those fees when the government released capitation grants every academic year to the public schools.
Mr Kwadwo Adu, the Baakoniaba Unit Committee Organiser, said the teachers also sacked children who were unable to pay the fees, while some were disallowed from writing their terminal examinations.
He also expressed dissatisfaction about excessive caning of school children, and appealed to the Ghana Education Service to help address the issue.
Maame Vida Siekoma, a farmer at Jato-Nkwanta in the municipality, alleged that her child at the local Roman Catholic Primary school in the area was canned because she could not afford to pay GH¢6.00 fee the school authorities demanded.
Pastor Emmanuel Owusu, the chairman of the school management committee of the Anglican Cluster of Schools in Sunyani, explained that because government was not releasing the capitation grant at the stipulated time, the schools had no option than to demand fees from parents, to provide basic needs.
He said the GH¢4.50 per child for the academic year was not enough and appealed to the government to increase the capitation grant to GH¢10.
Nana Adu Sefah, Gyaasehene of Baakoniaba, advised parents to endeavour to attend Parents-Teachers Association meetings regularly, to contribute to the decision-making processes.
Mr. Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the convener of the Local Accountability Network, indicated that corporal punishment was banned in schools, and urged parents to report teachers, who caned their children for the law to deal with them.
He reminded the public that Ghana was a signatory to several child rights conventions, which abhorred corporal punishment, including caning, and warned teachers against the practice in schools.
Mr Ahenu who is the Chief Executive Officer of Global Media Foundation, an anti-human rights media advocacy NGO, asked government to ensure that all children of school going-age had equal access to basic education.
He observed that the Free Compulsory Basic Education was a constitutional provision and requirement, and entreated government to release the capitation grant regularly, to avoid other charges on the children.

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