From Francis Owusu-Ansah, Sunyani
The female candidate of the Nkoranza M/A Junior High School (JHS) in the Brong-Ahafo Region, who was denied the opportunity to write her BECE English paper for failing to pay PTA dues, is reported missing from home.
The girl in question was expected to assist in the processing of the matter for court on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 (yesterday), but her grandmother who lives with the girl shockingly claims she left home on Monday, June 11, 2018 and has since not returned. Strangely, the alleged ‘missing girl’ incident has not been reported to the police.
The Chronicle has picked up intelligence that there are attempts by some big shots in the area to sweep the matter under the carpet, the reason for which the girl has been ‘hidden’ from the public.
An elder in the community disclosed that: “I have my doubts about the missing girl. It’s a plan to frustrate the court process but Anas is not far from Nkoranza”.
It would be recalled that the Nkoranza South Police arrested the Headmaster of the Nkoranza M/A Junior High School, Mr. Osei Kwame and his Assistant, Madam Esther Timbila, for preventing the female candidate from writing the just ended Basic Education Certificate Examination, (BECE).
The two were cautioned, granted bail and reported to the police on Monday, June 11, 2018. With the latest development, the process to seek justice for the girl has temporarily been stalled, raising eyebrows as to the honesty on the part of some public officers.
The Nkoranza South Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent John Ferguson Dzineku told The Chronicle that: “The grandmother of the girl is saying she cannot find her granddaughter”. According to her, “the girl left home on Monday and has since not returned”.
The police earlier indicated that the conduct of the Headmaster and his Assistant amounted to denying the girl her right to education, which is contrary to provisions captured in the Children’s Act 560.
He explained that: “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 Headmasters may be dealt with by the Ghana Education Service, (GES)”, he said and added that, “the court has no discretion as to what sanctions to apply in the matter”, he added.
On June 7, 2018, the candidate reported to the police 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 GHC130 as Extra Classes fees, which according to her she did not attend.
Her second offence was that she did not pay GHC36 for Mock Examination (of which she was prevented from writing two papers) and thirdly, failing to pay GHC10 each for Protective and Parents Teacher Association (PTA) dues respectively.
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 is unlawful.
He added that all the fees demanded by the headmasters are illegal, explaining that the Director General of the GES has directed that if any school desires to conduct mock examination, they could use part of their capitation grant or the assemblies should sponsor.
On the PTA dues, Mr. Alhassan said the minister of education, Dr, Matthew Opoku Prempeh has categorically asked all schools not to hold any student liable for non-payment, 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 that: “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”.