National College Headmaster under fire

From David Allan Paintsil, Cape Coast

Some of the students loitering around the school during the strike

The suspended Headmaster of the Ghana National College in Cape Coast, Mr. Robert Koomson Barnes, has come under intense pressure, after teachers in the school staged a sit-down strike on Wednesday to press home their demand for his ultimate dismissal.

The teachers had earlier accused their head of his alleged involvement in some malpractices, resulting in the Ghana Education Service (GES) suspending him as head of Ghana National College till further notice.

The teachers now claim Mr. Barnes is on suspension, but signs the food rationing requisition book, fuel coupons for all college vehicles, college vehicle log books, and inspects and approve college cheques before they are sent to the Metropolitan Director of the GES, Simeon Obotan Larbi, to sign.

The teachers, led by Wisdom Apedo, are questioning the reason why the suspended head should use the only mini-van for the school as his personal property, making it difficult for them to transport sick students to hospital.

They also did not understand why the Headmaster, while on suspension, should sign official documents, and how the documents got to him at his residence.

The teachers therefore, accused the Metropolitan Education Director, who is acting as Headmaster, and the Central Regional Director of Education, Kofi Safo Kantanka, of failing to sanction their head, but were rather shielding him.

However, the Central Regional Director refused to comment on the issue, while Mr. Larbi, Cape Coast Metropolitan Director, said he had a hint of the teachers embarking on a strike, and went there to ask them to rescind their decision.

He said Mr. Barnes had to sign cheques until the signature was changed, explaining that cheques had to be sent to the Headmaster to sign, because there was no change of signature at the time, adding that after that, the Headmaster had not signed any cheques.

Mr. Koomson Barnes, when contacted by The Chronicle, denied all the allegations, and explained that the teachers were trying to instigate the GES against him.

Meanwhile, at the school, the students were very bitter about the strike information pasted on all the teachers’ tables, and wondered if the government was aware of the situation in the school.

They appealed to government to intervene quickly, as the final year students’ lives are in danger because the teachers strike had the tendency to affect their performance. But, the paper learnt that National Service personnel were on duty.

The paper also learnt that various faceless people had been using strategies to get rid of Mr. Koomson Barnes, as head of the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s school.

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