The headmaster of the St Augustine’s College in Cape Coast in the Central Region, Mr Joseph Connelly, has been interdicted for allegedly charging unapproved fees, the Deputy Minister in charge of pre-tertiary Education, Mr Alex Kyeremeh, has said.
Mr Kyeremeh said that information reaching the ministry had it that a table was set up in the school purposely for that aspect of the money to be collected from fresh students before they were issued with admission letters.
He explained that the ministry detailed some people to the school, who confirmed that, indeed, a table had been set up and each parent was made to pay GH¢435 before the admission letter could be issued.
Mr Kyeremeh said the director-general had launched an investigation into the circumstances that warranted the decision by the school to initiate the collection of such illegal fees and those found culpable would be dealt with.
He said the school had no right to unilaterally demand the payment of that additional money, aside from the approved school fees, explaining that decisions such as that had the tendency of denying potential students admission.
Process of fixing fees
Mr Kyeremeh further explained that every year the Ghana Education Service (GES) went through a number of processes to arrive at how much a student should pay and that the ministry did not arbitrarily increase fees.
“What we do is that we don’t look at figures and just say let’s increase this by this amount or that. What we do as a ministry is that, every year the GES Council invites all major key players to come out with their suggestions and a sub-committee is formed, which deliberates on the submissions. After they have done due diligence with the submissions, they will also present their report to the Minister of Education, who will also put together a committee to review the council’s findings,” he said.
Breakdown of the fees
Mr Kyeremeh explained that all fresh students, with the exception of those in technical schools, were to pay a total of GH¢922.20, “and nothing more”.
Giving a breakdown, he said the school fees were in three parts for those who were non-technical students.
“Under general fee, each student is supposed to pay GH¢487.20, which is made up of admission fee of GH¢20, feeding fee of GH¢459.20, maintenance fee, GH¢3, and cumulative records fee, GH¢5.
“Also, each student is required to pay GH¢410 for uniforms, clothing and books, while the PTA dues per student is GH¢25, made up of GH¢10 for incentive package for teachers, GH¢10 for house dues and GH¢5 for PTA dues,” he explained.
He said every fresh student was, therefore, expected to pay GH¢922.20, while those in technical schools were to pay GH¢1,022.20.
Anything outside this is illegal.
Role of PTA
Mr Kyeremeh said the ministry recognised the role of stakeholders such as the PTA and its preparedness to support effective and efficient teaching and learning and that was why the PTA of each school was allowed to contribute some amount towards development activities of the schools.
He explained that even with that, no school PTA had the right to indiscriminately levy members without the express concern and approval of the GES Council.
Decision is unacceptable
He said it was, therefore, wrong and unacceptable for the St Augustine’s College to decide to collect an extra amount outside the stipulated school fees which had been approved.
Mr Kyeremeh said the decision by the director-general to interdict the headmaster was in the right direction because the headmaster had the ultimate responsibility for the school and he should be held responsible for any lapses in the administration of the school.
“We discourage collection of cash from parents,” he said, and cautioned heads of second-cycle institutions to desist from collecting illegal and unapproved money from parents. If we get you, you will face the music,” he said.
He said the ministry was not out to harass heads of second-cycle schools but was particular on the issue of illegal fees in order to ensure that no one was denied secondary education ,especially when such fees were a pre-requisite for the issuance of admission letters.