Several Junior High School students in Accra are likely to miss this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
This is because their parents are unable to pay what they describe as exorbitant registration fees being charged by their schools.
An Education Ministry directive copied to schools asked parents to pay GHÈ»17.40 as registration fee per candidate, indicating that the schools can charge additional fees based on negotiations with parents.
Checks by Joy News reveal that some schools in the capital are taking advantage of the clause to charge as high as GHÈ»200 for the entire registration process.
A 16-year-old pupil of the Kotobabi 3 JHS at the Abavana Cluster of Schools in Accra tolf JoyNews he has missed the opportunity to write the examinations for a second time because his parents were unable to pay the registration fees charged by the school.
He said the school requires that each student pays GHÈ»60 as registration fees, GHÈ»40 for internal mock examinations and GHÈ»11 for passport pictures, totalling GHÈ»111. A fee his parents are unable to afford.
The registration fee approved by government is GHÈ»50.80 for candidates in both public and private schools.
Out of this amount, Government pays GHÈ»33.40 while parents are asked to pay GHÈ»17.40.
Schools are allowed under the directive to charge extra fees based on negotiations with parents but this directive seems to have been flouted as the current fees are three times higher than the approved rate.
While pupils at the Abavana Cluster of Schools are paying GHÈ»111, their counterparts at the Kanda Cluster of Schools are paying GHÈ»120. Pupils ar the Garrison Schools at Burma Camp on the other hand, are paying GHÈ»50 for their registration and mock examination.
Examinations Coordinator for the Accra Metro Education Directorate, Kwesi Asante says there is little his outfit can do to correct the situation.
He said it cannot be expected that all schools will have the same fees because negotiations which will be arrived at by authorities of the schools and parents may differ.
According to Mr Asante, the Education Ministry would have provided a fixed rate if it wanted the fees to be the same.
Parents of the candidates are demanding a fixed amount all schools must adhere to, in order to reduce exploitation during registrations.
However, until the Education Ministry scraps the clause that permits schools to negotiate registration fees, the situation might persist.
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