The Ministry for Education has warned heads of educational institutions against taking illegal fees from parents. The Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Pre-Tertiary Education, Mr Alex Kofi Kyeremeh, stated categorically that in line with the government’s policy of pursuing progressively free secondary education programme, the ministry would not accept the charging of unapproved fees, as it contradicted the commitment of the initiative aimed at easing the cost burden on parents.
Mr Kyeremeh was speaking at the durbar to climax the year-long 25th anniversary celebrations of the Ashaiman Senior High School at Ashaiman in the Greater Accra Region, on Saturday.
The event held on the theme: “Changing trends in our education system —challenges” also marked the fourth Speech and Prize-Giving Day of the school, and was attended by old students, traditional rulers, the public and other stakeholders.
Mr Kyeremeh said, per the implementation of the policy, the government had absorbed 10 fee items at the rate of GH¢114.00 for every student per year for 320,488 day students starting from the 2015/16 academic year.
The fee items absorbed are examination, entertainment, library, Student Representative Council (SRC), sports, culture, science development, science and maths quiz, ICT and Co-curricular. However, for a day student to be eligible, he or she must not be covered by any other form of scholarship such as Ghana Cocoa Board Scholarship, Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP), Northern Scholarship, or other forms of scholarships provided by non-governmental organisations and individuals.
"Fee items such as admission fees and PTA levies that are not absorbed under the programme will have to be borne by parents. In addition, school supplies such as uniforms, books, cumulative records, medical examination and physical education kits will be borne by parents," he said
Mr Kyeremeh, however, cautioned that if any school had plans to charge any levy outside the standardised fees, the management must go through the laid-down procedures to get approval, warning that failure to do so would attract sanctions.
He stressed that the significant reliefs to parents under the policy did not remove the responsibility of parents to contribute to their children's education.
The Headmistress of the school, Mrs Cynthia Obiur Nti, in her report, remarked that in spite of its modest achievements over the past 25 years, the school faced a number of challenges, key among them being inadequate infrastructure.
She appealed to the Ghana Education Service (GES) and other stakeholders to complete and equip the school's Science Resource Centre, upgrade the Home Economics and Visual Arts Department as well as the dining hall.
A member of the Council of State, Mr Emmanuel Adjei Annan, commended the school authorities for the strives made and urged parents to partner management in delivering quality education. Mr Annan is also a former Chief Executive Officer of the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), under whose tenure the school was established, before the Ashaiman municipality was carved out of the TMA.
The Guest Speaker, Professor Kweku Osam, of the Department of Linguists, University of Ghana, proposed that, subjects at the basic eduction level for the first three years be limited to reading, numeracy and science, adding that, children who can read and write can handle any other subject as they progressed academically.
Established in 1990, with 30 students and two teachers to run agricultural science and vocational programmes, comprising Home Economics and Visual Arts, the Ashaiman Senior High School currently has a student population of 1,200 offering six programmes with 77 teachers and 23 non-teaching staff.