Eight final-year female students of the Jasikan College of Profession have had their educational ambitions temporary jostled, as they are reported to have been barred from taking their final papers in the General Business Certificate Examination (GBCE) following their inability to settle their school fees.
The headmaster of the school was able to influence invigilators at the examination centre at Hohoe to turn the students away, with the support of the security officials detailed to ensure order at the centre.
Whereas it is not right nor proper for students to refuse or fail to settle their indebtedness to schools or arrange functional payment alternatives, there is no justification for turning the students away from the examination.
Once they were duly registered for the examination and they could establish that claim, the invigilators had no business refusing them entry into the examination centre to write their papers.
The fact is that the GBCE is organised by a body independent of the Jasikan College of Profession. More important, the headmaster of the school had no power or authority over the invigilators.
The enforcement of payment of school fees is not one of the duties of the invigilators. Their role is to ensure that the examination is conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner and that students do not cheat or impersonate. So they had no mandate to turn away the students on the directives of the headmaster.
Indeed, the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service have been unequivocal on the issue that no student must be denied the right to sit for an examination solely on the basis of that student having defaulted in the payment of his or her fees.
There is a Ghanaian saying, “Asempa ye sere”, to wit, good causes excite laughter. Had the students been males, no one could tell how the matter would have ended.
But the other side of the equation is that the students should have settled their fees or made reasonable arrangements to assure the headmaster that they would pay them.
Once they enjoyed tuition offered by the school, they should have paid the fees.
As for the parents who are complaining, they must admit that they are part of the problem. They must have known all along that their children owed fees and should have made arrangements with the school to pay by instalments.
Those who argue that the time for payment was too short have no case. This is because they knew when their children were to pass out of school.
Accordingly, the blame must be shared equally by the parents and the school authorities.