Ms. Felicia Agyepong addressing the media
A group of parents calling themselves Concerned Non-Staff Parents of the University of Ghana Basic Schools (UGBS), has petitioned the government, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and advocates of children’s rights to restrain the authorities of the University of Ghana (UG) from preventing non-staff parents of the university’s basic school from using certain entry and exit points of the institution.
According to them, the management of the university must be made to hold on with its decision until a ‘workable solution’ was found to the current deadlock in the negotiations between the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and the managers of the basic schools.
The Concerned Parents also petitioned the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wuogon, Emmanuel Boakye Agyarko, to inform the university authorities that non-staff parents were prepared and willing to contribute to the cost of implementing the university’s proposed Identification (ID) system by paying the equivalent of the 25 percent of the cost of the sticker per parent ‘which translates into GH¢100.00 annually’.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra, leader of the group, Felicia Agyepong, appealed to government and the stakeholders to correct ‘a policy of segregation where one section of pupils have to get down at a distance to board a bus to the school in the morning for classes or walk along the road side in the afternoon after school’.
According to her, UG’s decision was discriminatory and oppressive to the best interest of the child and that the decision should be condemned by all.
‘The University Road Access Policy concerns the children of the University Basic School. However, the best interest of the child which shall be paramount in any matter concerning a child, was not considered by the University Authorities in the formulation and implementation of the policy’, she noted.
Ms. Agyepong stated categorically that ‘the charge of GH¢400.00 per annum – no matter how it is staggered – for a sticker to be paid by the parent on behalf of the child is not only exorbitant and unfair, but unacceptable in view of the fact that students of the university who are adults are allowed to pay GH¢50.00 only for the same UG Sticker per annum’.
She said they (parents) petitioned the university on February 21, 2014, over the issue but it (UG) did not take kindly to their petition claiming that ‘the tone of sections of the petition was deemed harsh and insulting and that the right procedure was not followed in submitting the petition directly to the Vice-Chancellor’s office.’
She proposed that instead of a UG Sticker, the authorities should be made to consider issuing each child at the UGBS with an identification card specifically designed by the varsity and at the expense of the non-staff parent to facilitate the entry and exit of the child.
The University of Ghana authorities introduced a tolling system in February 2014 following the rehabilitation of some roads on the campus.
But parallel to the tolling system after a large public outcry, the university authorities reintroduced a new sticker system under which amounts ranging between GH¢150.00 and GH¢400.00 were charged sections of campus road users for the acquisition of a new UG sticker with validity period ranging from three months to one year respectively.
Meanwhile, Ms. Agyepong, speaking in an interview with DAILY GUIDE after the press conference, indicated that should all efforts by the parents in resolving the issue failed, their next line of action would be to withdraw their children from the school at the end of the year.
By Melvin Tarlue
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