The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, has charged metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) to deal with teachers and headteachers of public basic schools who engage pupils in weeding, charge unapproved fees, report late to school or absent themselves from school.
She said absenteeism, engaging pupils in weeding and charging of unapproved registration fees had been identified as the major factors that militated against quality education in public basic schools.
Speaking at a day’s meeting with MMDCEs in Accra yesterday, Prof. Opoku-Agyemang said the ministry had declared a “zero tolerance for absenteeism” in basic schools.
The meeting, which brought together MMDCEs from the Greater Accra, Western, Central, Eastern and Volta regions, formed part of efforts by the ministry to improve on management, supervision, monitoring and accountability in public basic schools.
Some of the major issues discussed were teacher lateness and absenteeism and teachers who sold food items to pupils.
Prof. Opoku-Agyemang said although the ministry had outlined measures to enhance public basic education in the country, there was the need for MMDCEs to play a major role, since they had a direct contact with the schools.
“We must all understand that quality education in public basic schools is a shared responsibility of all stakeholders involved,” she said.
A deputy minister of Education in charge of Pre-Tertiary Education, Mr Alex Kyeremanteng, warned heads of schools who charged unapproved fees to stop and urged the MMDCEs to monitor the activities of headteachers in their districts.
He cited an instance when a headteacher of a school in the Ashanti Region made a lot of money yearly from unapproved fees.
“The MMDCEs must put in place effective measures to address all these problems,” he charged.
The Director of Statistics, Research, Information Management and Public Relations at the Ministry of Education, Mrs Cynthia Bosomtwe Saa, said the SMC would assist in ensuring discipline among pupils and teachers, particularly in checking absenteeism and lateness to school.