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16.04.2009 Education

Extra classes exploitative - CHASS

By The Ghanaian Times
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The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) says extra classes for students can be exploitative as the teachers often charge very high fees.

Nevertheless, it said the issue should be subjected to a national consultative discussion.

It has, therefore, supported the call by the Ghana National Association of Teachers for a national conference to streamline the practice.

Mr Samuel Ofori-Adjei, National President of CHASS, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times yesterday noted that some teachers had taken advantage of the absence of guidelines streamlining the practice to organize extra classes to charge exorbitant fees, noting that some even organise private classes at home and charge as much as GH¢50 per subject per month.

He was of the view that if the practice was properly organised and monitored, the incidence of teachers privately holding classes in their homes and charging students exorbitantly could be addressed.

"As the Minister indicated in the Times story yesterday, some policy guidelines were drawn on this issue in the 1990s and what we need to do now is to go back and properly implement them," he added.

He wondered what the students would be engaged in if the extra classes was banned and not replaced.

He expressed fears that a blanket fiat banning the practice would rather result in parents and students having to pay more.

Mr Ofori-Adjei said since both parents and students seemed to appreciate it, the better option would be to regulate it.

"As a headmaster, I have encountered on numerous occasions parents coming to me requesting me to get them teachers to organise private classes for them", he added.

Mr Moses Ocloo, the National CHASS Administrator, hinted that the issue would be discussed at the association's meeting scheduled for October, this year, after which a communique would be issued.

The CHASS has a membership of 493 schools countrywide.

Some parents the Ghanaian Times spoke to on the issue expressed diverse opinions.

Mr Aloysius Terkper, with a 16-year-old daughter in Aburi Senior High School, said the scraping of the classes would not augur well for students.

He, however, suggested that there should be no monetary demands on students for it.

"I understand that in some schools, the most important topics are reserved for extra-classes and this I think is very criminal," he said.

A trader at Osu, Madam Afi Kudor, said given the long hours she spends selling, she had arranged with some of the teachers to engage her twins at the nursery after closing so she could pick them up later.

Another parent speaking on anonymity, said he had a girl at the Wesley Grammar School and noted that the extra classes normally held after regular classes, were very helpful to her.

Mr. Emmanuel Afful expressed anger at some teachers at the Mars Business College at Mataheko where his daughter attends school who he said organise compulsory extra classes on Saturdays for a fee and punish students who fail to attend by flogging.

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