The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations has initiated steps to harmonise fees charged by the Integrated Community Centres for Employable Skills (ICCES) in the country.
The move is as a result of the existence of some discrepancies in the current fees being charged by various centres and, in some cases, the inclusion of certain unapproved items in the bills of students.
The sector Minister , Mr Haruna Iddrisu, stated this in Parliament yesterday in an answer to a question filed by the member for Bortianor Ngleshie-Amanfro, Mr Bright Demordzi.
Mr Demordzi had sought to know what the approved admission fee for ICCESs in the country were. The 59 ICCESs established in the country to provide skills for the youth to enable them to become self-employed, charge different fees although they provide basically the same skills.
For instance, in one academic year, the Abosamso ICCES in the Ashanti Region, charged GH¢213; Gyedu ICCES in the Brong Ahafo Region charged GH¢ 570; Ada ICCES in the Greater Accra Region charged GH¢ 520; Lolobi ICCES in the Volta Region charged GH¢ 141 and Tatale-Sanguli in the Northern Region charged GH¢ 1,380.
Mr Iddrisu said the ICCESs in the country were primarily community-based institutions and did not operate a unified nationwide fees regime.
Consequently, he said, the policy had been that every centre was permitted to fix its own fees for the purpose of running their own programmes.
"These fees are determined by each centre with the full involvement of the local centre boards. The membership of these boards include the traditional and district authorities and parents, " he said.
The fees, he added, generally included fees for hostel accommodation, internal and external examinations and school uniforms in some cases, across the country.
The ministry, Mr Iddrisu indicated, had, however, in recent times observed the existence of some huge discrepancies in the fees charged and the inclusion of items in the bill.
He said the discrepancies were unacceptable, adding that the ministry had taken steps to set up a technical committee to closely monitor and harmonise fees charged by the various centres.
The MP for Ablekuma North, Mr Justice Joe Appiah, asked why the amount charged by the Tatale-Sanguli ICCES was far above what the others charged. In response, the minister said the institution had specialised in equipping students with certain vocational skills hence the move on the part of that school to charge that amount.