ON page 9 of today, we carried a letter written by one of our cherished readers, to the Minister of Education concerning a negative practice pertaining in the sector.
The Times believes the issue raised in the letter demands urgent attention and action, as it is a matter worrying all responsible citizens and parents concerned about the wellbeing of their wards.
Some of the basic schools, especially the private educational institutions, have resorted to camping final year Junior High School pupils on the school premises ostensibly to prepare them for the Basic Education School Certificate Examination.
The duration of the camping ranges from two to six weeks. One particular school at Kasoa in the Central Region, has camped the pupils since October last year.
While this may seem well-intentioned, from all indications it is motivated by monetary interests, as the authorities of the schools are charging moneys termed boarding fees, in some cases as much as GH¢800.00.
And it is compulsory for every pupil to attend, regardless of the wishes of the parents, or their financial capability.
The Times considers this development as simply an opportunity for the schools to exploit parents.
Of major concern is the fact that majority of the schools are day institutions, and, therefore, do not have boarding facilities.
The children are compelled to sleep in classrooms, leaving the comfort of their homes and beds to lie on benches and tables. Where the authorities are considerate, then the pupils are made to share students’ mattresses placed on the floor.
This situation poses major problems, healthwise and socially.
Since the schools do not have dormitories, the toilet facilities would be inadequate and the pupils risk contracting diseases. For bathing, make-shift structures are erected.
Aside from the health issue, there is the social dimension. These youngsters are left on their own in the night, open to temptations to indulge in all sorts of social vices.
This is a very worrying situation, and we wonder at the failure of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to clamp down on the practice.
Certainly, the education authorities cannot claim to be unaware of this development.
We challenge them to live up to their responsibility of protecting our children, by taking immediate steps to proscribe the practice and deal with the culprits.