General News of Wednesday, 13 June 2018
The Nkoranza South police have arrested the Headmaster of the Nkoranza M/A Junior High School, Mr. Osei Kwame, and his Assistant, Madam Esther Timbila, for preventing a female candidate from writing the just-ended Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) English paper.
The two were last Friday cautioned, granted bail and were expected to report to the police yesterday, Monday, June 11, 2018.
The Nkoranza South Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent John Ferguson Dzineku, told The Chronicle that the conduct of the Headmaster amounted to denying the girl her right to education, which is contrary to provisions captured in the Children’s Act 560.
The Police boss explained: “Preventing the child from writing the English paper, which is one of the criteria for placement in Senior High School, means you are denying her the opportunity to enjoy the free SHS policy.
“Administratively, the two heads may be dealt with by the Ghana Education Service (GES),” he said, and added: “The court has discretion as to what sanction to apply in the matter.”
According to the Police Commander, on June 7, 2018, a female candidate in the just-ended BECE from the M/A JHS in the municipality reported that she was sacked from the Examination Hall and prevented from writing her English paper by the Assistant Headmistress of the school, Timbila Esther, with the support of the Headmaster, Mr. Osei Kwame.
The candidate said she was prevented from writing the examination because she could not pay GH¢130 as Extra Classes fees, which, according to her, she did not even attend.
Her second offence was that she did not pay GH¢36 for the Mock Examination (two of which she was prevented from writing), and thirdly, failure to pay GH¢10 for Protective Fee and Parents Teacher Association (PTA) dues.
The Nkoranza South Municipal Director of Education, Mr. Sulley Alhassan, who sounded astonished, said when a candidate is registered no one can sack the person from the examination hall, and that the conduct of the two heads was unlawful.
“When a student registers as a candidate, you cannot stop them from writing the examination for any reason, and every Headmaster is aware of this,” he said.
He added that all the fees demanded by the headmaster are illegal, explaining that the Director General of the GES has directed that if any school desires to do mock examinations, they could use part of their capitation grant or their assemblies should sponsor it.
“The GES has explained to headmasters that if they wish to conduct mock examinations, they may use part of their capitation grant or rely on sponsorship from their respective assemblies,” Mr. Alhassan said.
On the PTA dues, Mr. Alhassan said the Minister for Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has categorically asked all schools not to hold any student liable, since it is an agreement between parents and the school.
“I have repeatedly warned headmasters not to hold any student responsible for the payment of PTA dues, since it is the parents’ obligation to pay and not the student,” he told this reporter.
Section 8 of the Children’s Act 560 of 1998 states: “No person shall deprive a child of access to education, immunisation, adequate diet, clothing, shelter, medical attention or any other thing required for his or her development.”
Meanwhile, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Mr. Michael Nsiah Agyapong, has criticised the heads of Nkoranza South M/A Junior High School for the treatment meted out to the BECE candidate.
The GNAT Chairman said it was against the ethics of members of GNAT to punish students whose parents fail or refuse to pay PTA dues.
He, therefore, urged the parents of the candidate to take on the heads.
According to Mr. Agyapong, the association would not tolerate such behaviours from its members.