Regional News of 2014-05-17

UG denies restricting access to basic school

The University of Ghana has described media reports indicating that the school has restricted all access points to motorists and parents of the University’s Basic school as “entirely false”.

According to the University, the main entrance (Okponglo entrance) of the school remains open 24 hours a day, to members of the general public, including parents of the University’s Basic School.

A group calling itself Concerned Parent of ‘Non-Staff Pupils’ of the University of Ghana Basic School allegedly said the University had blocked all access routes to the campus.

The group further petitioned government to reverse the policy implemented by the school, which prevents parents from entering and exiting the University’s campus through its restricted routes.

But a press statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs, Stella. A. Amoah said: “The University of Ghana reiterates that it is not mandatory to acquire a UG sticker before entering the Legon Campus.”

It further noted that the use of stickers applies only to persons who wish to use other entry/exit points which are restricted.

“The concerned parents who have no desire to pay the fee are free to use the main entrance.” it said.

“It is regrettable that a small group of parents have decided to stand in the way of reforms at the University. This group is bent on having its way as part of the self-granted entitlements package of its members,” it added.

Below is the full statement issued by University of Ghana

In the wake of various media reports in respect of a Press Conference held by a group of people calling themselves, “Concerned Parents of non-staff of the University of Ghana Basic Schools”, the University of Ghana would like to restate its position concerning entry to the Legon Campus.

The media reports suggest that the University of Ghana (UG) has restricted all access points to motorists, including to parents of the University Basic Schools. This is entirely false.

The University of Ghana reiterates that it is not mandatory to acquire a UG sticker before entering the Legon Campus. Contrary to the false reports, the main entrance (Okponglo entrance) remains open 24 hours a day to members of the general public, including to parents of the Basic School. No one needs a UG sticker to access the Legon Campus through its main entrance. The Concerned Parents statement which suggests that school children have to pay road user fees to enter their school premises is therefore totally false and designed to create disaffection towards the University Management.

The use of stickers applies only to persons who wish to use other entry/exit points which are restricted. All motorists who wish to enter or exit the University from these points require permission from the University. In granting permission to applicants, they are required to pay a fee. The concerned parents who have no desire to pay the fee are therefore free to use the main entrance.

Following a petition from parents of the pupils of the University Basic Schools, the University offered them a concessionary staggered payment arrangement of the annual rate for unlimited entry/exit through all access points. This implied a rebate of an average of 26% for the 3-month and 6-month category of stickers. It is important to underscore the fact that majority of the non-staff parents of the school, who have a need to use the restricted entry points, have subsequently acquired stickers.

It is regrettable that a small group of parents have decided to stand in the way of reforms at the University. This group is bent on having its way as part of the self-granted entitlements package of its members. The members do not believe they should ever make any contribution to the University beyond the heavily subsidized fees they pay. They would like to dictate the terms and conditions under which they conduct their private business at the University.

For the avoidance of doubt, the University of Ghana has done everything possible to make the lives of the children that attend its schools as comfortable as possible. It will continue to do so in the future. The University subsidizes the participation of all children, including non-staff children, in its school programmes. Non-staff parents pay only 25% of the fees that parents of pupils in comparator schools pay.

In the press reports that have been manipulated by the aggrieved parents the world was shown pictures of children walking to the University of Ghana Basic School. The idea was to show how uncaring the University Management was. What the reports did not indicate was that the children were directed by their aggrieved parents to walk instead of boarding the shuttle buses provided free of charge by the University. In any case, staff children living on the campus walk the same distance every morning to school, an average of 300 metres.

Children coming to school from the Staff Village walk more than one mile to school each morning. It is extremely unfortunate that this small number of aggrieved parents have decided to subject their own children to the agony of watching their parents misbehave each morning as part of a new morning ritual. The University of Ghana does not intend to change its policy on access any time soon. It will do all it can to discourage the so-called concerned parents from obstructing others seeking to engage in their legitimate business on campus. The University is committed to ensuring that the University Basic School continues to provide quality education to all pupils in an atmosphere of respect, and that the campus remains safe and secure for the academic business of the University.

Stella A. Amoa (Mrs.)

Director of Public Affairs