Regional News of 2014-01-11

Parents of SHS students complain about illegal fees

About 300 complaints have been lodged by parents and guardians at the Ministry of Education against heads of senior high schools for allegedly charging unauthorised school fees.

The Deputy Minister in charge of Pre-Tertiary Education, Mr Alex Kyeremeh, who made this known to the Daily Graphic, said the necessary actions would be taken to redress them.

The Ministry of Education set up a secretariat in November 2013 to receive complaints on illegal fees collection, grievances and criticisms from the public for redress.

The secretariat receives complaints and suggestions from the public to help improve on education delivery in the country.

Similar offices are to be opened in the regions and the districts in the country.

Unapproved fees

Before the setting up of the secretariat, there was widespread collection of unapproved fees, especially from prospective first-year senior high school students.

Complaints from parents against such unapproved fees prompted the ministry to establish the secretariat.

Mr Kyeremeh said following the complaints, heads were cautioned against charging unapproved fees and many of them (heads) apologised for their actions and inaction.

Following that, he said, the heads then “promised to refund the unapproved fees in the form of credits to the affected students”.

“So far, we have received information that some of them have done exactly that, while some are still charging higher than it used to be,” he said.

The Deputy Minister said regional directors had been asked to form a regional taskforce to go round to check and then take action.

“We are receiving complaints from all over the country so anybody who feels that he/she is being cheated by somebody can call the numbers or email us and we would come to their aid,” Mr Alex Kyeremeh added.

National team

Mr Kyeremeh said the ministry was also putting up a national team together to go round and check whether the information that some heads were still charging higher fees was authentic or not.

He said the check on the illegal collection of fees was an entire project, and that the ministry was not expecting an immediate result.

“It is envisaged that by next year around this time, we may not be talking about unapproved fees again because we are also putting up more systems to outwit those who would want to charge unapproved fees he said.”

Mr Kyeremeh said the ministry was considering printing the school fees on the placement forms of prospective first-year students beginning next year for parents to know the amount they would be paying as school fees.

“We are asking people to develop a platform so that we would be able to use that in addition. We are looking at so many options so that we can do away with the charging of unapproved fees,” he said.

He asked heads still charging unapproved fees to desist from the practice because the ministry was at their heels.