SANCTIONING THE RECALCITRANT SCHOOL HEADS

The issue of collection of illegal fees by some Heads of educational institutions in the country has popped up again, receiving media attention and coverage.

A committee set up by the Ministry of Education to investigate allegations of payment of unapproved fees in the Senior High Schools during the 2013/2014, academic year, cited 11 Heads for disciplinary action to be taken against them for falling foul of the directive not to charge such fees.

Aside charging final year students second and third term fees, some Heads were also found to have, inflated or over-charged utility, desk, teacher motivation, store item, municipal assembly and Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) levies.

The committee’s report indicated that, in one typical case, a school purchased an electricity plant for GH¢135,000 and installed it at GH¢45,000, without recourse to procurement regulations, as required by the ministry.

It, therefore, recommended that the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) or the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), should follow up on the matter and submit reports to the Minister of Education.

The Times hopes the Committee’s recommendations would be rigidly enforced by the Ministry of Education, to ensure those found culpable are duly sanctioned.

It is a fact that some School Heads have turned their institutions into gold mines and, exploiting parents and guardians, for their selfish ends.

Through the connivance of some unscrupulous PTA members, these Heads have introduced all kinds of levies for students, contrary to the approved fees of the Ghana Education Service.

We recall that sometime past, students were compulsorily asked to pay for such items as iron rods, cement, water tanks, and plastic chairs, among others, in addition to the legally approved fees.

The pressure exerted on parents to pay for these items, generated such controversy that the Ghana Education Service (GES), was compelled to deny knowledge of the payment of such illegal fees.

The Times is happy that the current Minister, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang is proactive, making sure that loopholes are plugged, and Heads of institutions who abuse their positions dealt with, in accordance with the law.

We encourage her to continue with the good work, and clean the system of dubious Heads of Senior High Schools and their collaborators.

We also caution parents who collaborate with such Heads to amass wealth at the expense of students, to a stop their nefarious activities.

Parents are already burdened, and should therefore be spared the agony of paying spurious monies, for their children in the schools.

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