After the exam expulsions…
By every stretch of imagination, the action is callous. Fifteen students writing a paper as part of the West Africa School Certificate Examinations were ordered out of the examination hall during the week because, according to Mr. John Kumah, Assistant Headmaster (Academic) of the Kumasi High Technical School, the boys had not paid their school fees.
Mr. Kumah justified his action by claiming that a directive from the Ghana Education Service stipulates that students who had not settled their school fees in full, ought not be allowed to sit for external examinations.
Yesterday, Mr. Paul Krampah, Public Relations Officer of the GES, debunked the claim on television. According to the spokesman for the Education Service, the instruction to headmasters is that they ought to ensure that children pay their fees in full before examinations.
He was at pains to explain that school authorities had no business denying students the right to sit examinations. The Chronicle views the situation at Kumasi High Technical serious enough to warrant disciplinary measures against the Assistant Headmaster involved.
In the case in point, one of the affected students even showed evidence of fulfilling the school fees requirement, but was still ordered out of the examination hall.
The Kumasi episode cannot be an isolated case. Over the years, there have been reports of students being denied the right to sit examinations after going through the hazard of preparing for them, because they had not paid their academic and other user fees while on campus.
In this era, when parents and guardians are going through very difficult times to educate their wards, it is traumatic to both students and guardians to deny kids the right to sit their final examinations.
We do not condone failure to honour financial obligations to schools. But it is absurd for anybody to use that as reason to jeopardise the future of our kids.
We appreciate the stress failure on the part of parents and guardians to fulfill their financial obligations towards their children’s education put on the management of schools. At a time when the g is struggling with releasing its share of feeding and other grants to schools, we appreciate the pressure on school authorities to manage their institutions effectively.
But, that does not mean that school authorities should pour their frustrations on the poor students.
The Chronicle is of the view that there are several avenues open to school authorities to recoup their outstanding fees, even after school kids had finished sitting their examinations and left. After all, the students concerned would need their examination results, certificates and other endorsements from their school authorities as they move in on the education ladder, or venture into employment.
We are inviting the Ghana Education Service to lay down standard regulations for all schools to follow in the case of students unable to fulfill their financial obligations before sitting their final examination.
In the interim, we are demanding of the GES to ensure that the affected students at the Kumasi High School and any others around the country denied the right to sit their final examinations, to be entered to sit in the November/December examinations.
It would not make up for the loss. But, it would, at least, ease the pain and re-set the path to the future for the unfortunate students. We await the result of investigation into the Kumasi High Technical School episode.
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