Are people expected to pay for services they have not received? The answer is obvious.
But this is what, as a country, we have been subjected to over the years.
Consumers of electricity have, for years, been levied for street lights which are not available, as the streets are stark dark at night.
Property rates are paid so that citizens will enjoy basic public amenities and services such as simple drains and litter bins in which refuse can be put. However, these basic services are not provided and no one seems to care.
Issues like these permeate to the national level and the best and farthest we have seen is the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament that has become more of a ritual talk shop for many a Ghanaian. No wonder the country is beset with grave challenges, one of them being the overwhelming filth engulfing the whole country which could be dealt with through very simple elementary actions and means.
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Happily, one institution has taken action to ensure that ‘consumers’ do not pay for services they have not enjoyed — the Ghana Education Service (GES). For many years, final-year students had paid full fees for the final term, even though they spent less time in school.
It is common knowledge that both parents and students lamented over this for years at various fora, including PTA meetings, but the authorities always justified, at times through weird means, why the full fees must be paid.
That development had a telling effect on both students and parents. Some students were refused entry to examination halls because of the non-payment of those fees. The emotional and psychological effects on parents could only be imagined.
It cannot be disputed that some students had their promising future truncated because of the refusal of school authorities to allow them to write some or all of their papers.
Therefore, the directive by the GES to all heads of public senior high schools (SHSs) to reduce by 50 per cent the fees to be paid by final-year students in the third term is, indeed, welcome.
The memo to that effect explained that the reduction in fees was because the students would start their 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in April and spend only seven out of the 14 weeks in school.
The Daily Graphic is of the view that the directive will go a long way to reduce the financial burden on parents. It will also ensure that students concentrate on their studies and be in a position to write their papers in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.
The move by the GES is certainly akin to customers paying only for services they have really enjoyed and for this we commend the institution.
It is our hope that this bold act will be emulated by other government departments, agencies and authorities, so that we do not burden the citizenry with costs of services they do not or have not enjoyed, just because the authorities see the public as helpless, even if the people detest such anomalies.