Students Thrown Out Of Exam Hall
5/11/2012 7:30:21 AM -
The future of 15 final-year students of the Kumasi Senior High Technical School (KSTS) was put in jeopardy last Friday when an assistant headmaster of the school stormed the examination hall in the school to stop them from writing the Physics Theory paper of the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The act of Mr John Kumah, the Assistant Headmaster (Academic), who claimed he was only carrying out a directive from the Ghana Education Service (GES) to prevent students who owed fees from writing the examination, has compelled educational authorities in the Kumasi metropolis to institute immediate investigations into the matter.
Mr Kumah entered the examination hall about 10 minutes into the one-hour paper and forced the students out.
Not even pleas by the students, including Master Barnabas Kwaku Aidoo, who insisted he had paid his fees in full, would compel Mr Kumah to allow the students entry to the examination hall to complete the paper.
To justify his claim of payment, Master Aidoo rushed to the Accounts office for a note to prove that he had paid his fees, yet Mr Kumah would not budge.
When graphic.com.gh visited the school Wednesday, a two-man delegation from the Kumasi Metropolitan Directorate of Education was conducting investigations into the matter.
The officials would, however, not disclose what their investigations had revealed so far, saying they had to inform their boss first.
A sobbing Master Aidoo, in the company of his guardian, Mr Kofi Asiedu, told graphic.com.gh that they were writing the Physics Theory paper, the penultimate paper in the WASSCE, when Mr Kumah entered the hall and asked him and the others to go out because they owed school fees.
“We had then spent about 10 minutes writing the paper and I told him that I did not owe fees but he would not agree,” Master Aidoo said.
According to him, he went to the Accounts office for a letter indicating that he had paid his fees in full but when he showed it to Mr Kumah, “he insisted on preventing me from writing the paper”.
The student said he became confused and started crying as the time to complete the paper ticked away.
He stated that with about five minutes to end the paper, the assistant headmaster called him back to the examination hall but it was too late for him.
His guardian, Mr Asiedu, showed this reporter official receipts of the payment of the fees and prayed that the authorities would not allow the case to die naturally.
When contacted, the Headmistress of the school, Mrs Mary Osei, admitted that the students had been driven out of the examination hall in her absence but insisted that they owed fees.
According to her, the students were later asked to go back to write the examination.
She said although the GES had not sent any clear-cut directive to prevent students who owed fees from writing the examination, the Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior High Schools (CHASS) had insisted that every legitimate means be used to collect fees from students.
She said last year, final-year students who wrote the WASSCE went away with fees totaling about GH¢7,000 and from that experience the school administration had sworn to prevent a recurrence.
Reached for his comments, the Ashanti Regional Director of Education, Mr Joseph Onyinah, said he was not aware of the issue.
He, however, explained that the decision to prevent fee-owing students from writing the examination was a moral one.
He said school authorities had been tasked by the GES to ensure that every student paid his or her fees in full before the beginning of the term.
He indicated that a parent who had a problem with payment could only negotiate with the head of the school on the terms of payment.