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15.04.2007 General News

PTAs must stop imposing high levies - Idris

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The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Mustapha Ali Idris, has advised Parent/Teacher Associations (PTAs) in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions to be circumspect and modest in their demands on parents in the form of levies to ensure that children were not withdrawn from schools.

He said despite the introduction of the Capitation Grant and the School Feeding programmes and other interventions to make education more affordable, many children in the three northern regions were either withdrawn from school or were not enrolled due to higher levies imposed on parents.

Alhaji Idris said the practice was thwarting the government's efforts of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the universal primary education for all children.

Alhaji Idris gave the advice in Tamale at the weekend when he addressed deprived children from the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions on the occasion of Easter Children's Convention held in Tamale.

The programme, which was organised by Youth Alive, an NGO and sponsored by Rights and Voice Initiative (RAVI) was aimed at bringing deprived children together from the three regions as means of galvanizing and seeking support from stakeholders to sponsor their education.

Alhaji Idris said the Capitation Grant was instituted by government to replace levies imposed on parents and to ensure that all children of school-going age were in school and described as an unacceptable practice for children to be sent home due to their parents' inability to pay levies.

He noted that the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) was not a mere slogan adding, "You should take into consideration the poor parents among us and refrain from making such huge demands to ensure that many children were enrolled in school."

The MP for Tamale South, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, said posterity would not forgive parents and other leaders who neglect their duties to ensure that children were well catered for and also to integrate them into the society.

He said the three northern regions share in common, poverty, deprivation and lop-sided development and they needed to collaborate and work together towards achieving one goal.

The Most Reverend Philip Naameh, the Catholic Bishop of Damongo called for the need to change negative cultural values to conform with modernity to ensure that all children were carried on board the course to development.

Source: GNA