Two hundred and fifty students of the Labone Senior High School (SHS) have been sacked for their abysmal performance in the end-of-year examination in July, this year.
The students, who had an average of four failures in eight subjects, were sent packing when the first term of the 2014/2015 academic year began.
Out of the number sacked, 155 of them were second-year students who were supposed to go to Form Three, while 95 were first-year students entering their second year.
Also, 171 students who had an average of three failures in the examination have been asked to repeat their forms.
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About 800 Form Two students of the school were supposed to enter Form Three, while the number of first years who were expected to enter second year was 1,000.
The action, according to the Headmistress of the school, Mrs Mary Amankwah, was in line with the school’s policy agreed upon by both the students and their parents at the time of their admission.
Mrs Amankwah told the Daily Graphic in an interview that part of the prospectus of the school clearly stated that if a student had three failures in an end-of-term examination, he or she would be sacked from the school.
That portion of the agreement, she said, was signed by both parents and students.
Mrs Amankwah said the situation might have been different if the parents whose children were affected had honoured an invitation by the school to find a way out of the situation.
“We invited 300 parents to a meeting as a way of finding measures to deal with the situation but, surprisingly, only 36 of them turned up,” she said.
She expressed dismay at the attitude of those parents who failed to honour the invitation, saying, “You just can’t dump your children in school and not be concerned about their welfare.”
The affected parents, she said, seemed not to care about the future of their children, adding, “They have all the time and resources in the world to attend big funerals and weddings but when it comes to the education of their children, they don’t seem to care.”
More girls affected
It was regretable, she said, that majority of the students who had been sacked were girls in the day system.
She observed that a good number of those girls were made to do extra chores at home, thereby denying them the opportunity to do independent studies.
In justifying the decision to sack them, Mrs Amankwah said, the management of the school had two options — whether to allow the students to go through, write their final examinations and score failures or do the right thing by sending a clear signal to parents that the school would not renege on its role of ensuring that quality human resource was produced for the development of the country.
She said if the school allowed the first option, “then we would have consented to their failure”.
On the role of the teachers of the school in raising standards, Mrs Amankwah said she had always remained strict on teachers’ lesson notes and attendance, adding that she would step up her oversight role to ensure total compliance.
In last year’s West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), she said, the school scored 68 per cent passes, adding, “We could have done better.”
When the Daily Graphic visited the school yesterday, a good number of distraught-looking parents had come to the school to plead with the authorities to accept their children back.
Mrs Amankwah said as a result of the desire of the school management to ensure a better future for the affected students, it would meet with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) to fashion a way out of the situation.
“We know that both the affected students and their parents have been traumatised by the decision, but we had to do this to ensure sanity,” she said.
Views of an affected parent
Mr Frederick Armah, a teacher, who is an affected parent, told the Daily Graphic that what had happened was a wake-up call to all parents, especially those whose children were day students.
“I am not saying technology is not good, but these children come home and instead of studying, all you see them do is ‘Facebooking’ and ‘Whatsapping’ on phone,” he observed.
He stressed the need for parents to take absolute interest in what their children did when they returned from school and also coach them very well.
“We are struggling so much to find money to pay their fees and so we must ensure that our investment pays off,” Mr Armah said.
Unable to pack home
One of the affected students, a male boarder, told the Daily Graphic that even though he had packed out of the school, he had not been able to return home.
“The term has just begun and so if I pack home now, what will people say and what will I tell them?” he asked, with tears in his eyes.