The Electoral Commission (EC) yesterday began registering eligible voters in Senior High School (SHS) students across the country but there were setbacks at some of the schools.
The two day special exercise was targeted at final year students and those in form-two gold track who were 18 or more but could not join the mainstream exercise because they were in school.
However, the EC officials were yet to arrive at some schools in Accra as at the time the Ghanaian Times got there. They included Odorgono SHS, Wesley Grammar and Kaneshie SHS (KATECO).
When the news team arrived at KATECO at noon, the school had designated areas for the exercise with furniture arranged in readiness but the EC team were yet to arrive.
A staff who asked not to be named was oblivious of reasons for the absence but he indicated that they would continue to wait for them or further communication from stakeholders involved in the exercise.
At Wesley Grammar, health personnel who was supposed to be part of the officials was present but the main team were yet to turn up. EC officials were not at Odorgono SHS as of 11:45.
The situation at Accra Wesley Girls SHS was, however, different when the Ghanaian Times visited at 11:00.
The EC officials were at post and had registered 30 students so far with others awaiting their turn.
Social distancing, wearing of masks and other protocol were observed. Some teachers were also waiting to register.
In an interview, Charles Tackie, an EC technician and supervisor of data entry clerks, said their target was 150 students per pay, expressing optimism that they could achieve the target due to the smooth progression of the exercise.
He said about 50 per cent of the students who had registered so far presented their Ghana card as proof of nationality while the rest relied on friends as guarantors.
In all 750 out of 779 students had reported to school but not all of them were eligible, according to Ms Letitia Bray, the headmistress.
The special exercise which formed part of the nationwide compilation of a new register was announced at an emergency Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting held between the EC and IPAC on Thursday.
As part of the extended exercise, mobile registration officers from the EC were deployed to about 700 SHS campuses after the Ghana Education Service (GES) had written to the Commission.
The SHS students returned to school on June 22, as part of the partial reopening of school after several weeks of closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
From Sunyani, Daniel Dzirasah reports that registration of senior high school students announced by the EC took with a few hiccups.
At the Sunyani Senior High school where five registration centres were created, it came out that the printing machines could not capture the finger print of registrants.
According to the registration officer Victor Gyan the printer could not capture the finger prints of registrants and as such had slow the registration process.
He said affected applicants were made to wait until the machine was able to capture their details.
He told this reporter that although the exercise began around 8:00am, he could not provide the number of students who had registered and that of those who had been guaranteed.
Similar situation pertained in all the five centres in the school.
The registration officer of Twene Amanfo Senior High, Mr Jacob Kwame Ofori told the Ghanaian Times that 33 students had registered as at 11:48 am with 20 guarantors guaranteeing for the registrants.
At the St James Senior high School, Rev. Father Alex Ansu Ebo, headmaster of the school said the school was a polling centre and that the registration exercise had not started yet.
Dzifa Tetteh, reports from Ashaiman that at the Ashaiman Senior High School in the Ashaiman Municipality, there was no registration exercise going on.
Rather students were engaged in a clean-up exercise on the compound and its surroundings.
The Assistant Head for Administration of the School, Elikplim Setsoafia-Logbavi in an interview with the Ghanaian Times explained that the school received a message from the Electoral Commission on Thursday that the registration of their students had been rescheduled.
He said since the school was also a Registration Centre, days would be allocated for students to also register when it was the turn for the area to have its registration exercise later this month.
Some of the students who spoke in an interview said they were disappointed that they could not do it at the same time as their colleagues from other institutions because they were excited to register and vote for the first time.
However, they were also happy that an assurance had been given that when registration starts in the area they would have the opportunity to do so.
From Ho, Kafui Gati reports that contrary to concerns raised over the legal basis for the registration of Senior High School students at campuses not gazetted, the exercise started yesterday in some schools in the Ho Municipality.
At Mawuli Senior High School, a total of 1,100 eligible students and staff were expected to go through the two-day exercise.
According to the headmaster, Mr Gustav Adomah, all the necessary safety protocols have been put in place.
He explained that students were to go through the exercise first before staff members since they could not go outside the school to register after the two-day exercise.
When the Ghanaian Times got to E.P Mawuko Girls Senior High School, the situation was not different with students seated two meters apart.
The school authorities noted that they were expecting 508 eligible students to register.
Some of the students Ghanaian Times interviewed said even though the exercise has been smooth, many of them were not having the Ghana Card and have to wait for their colleagues vouch for them.
Mr Samuel Agudza, a registration official stated that the exercise has been smooth with all the students taken through the safety protocols.
He assured that all the schools in the Ho Municipality would benefit from the two-day exercise.
The registration of students by the Electoral Commission comes after some members of the public raised concerns about the exercise.
But in a sharp response, the Electoral Commission said its decision to commence the voter registration exercise in the various Senior High Schools in the country was to avoid disenfranchising eligible voter students.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR