Bolgatanga, Nov. 12, GNA - Some parents in the Upper East Region have expressed concern about recent increases in school fees, considering the impoverished nature of the area and high poverty levels among the people.
A fee of 300 Ghana cedis charged by Senior High Schools in the Region, they said, was rather too high for parents most of whom have no steady sources of income.
The parents made the complaint when the Minister of Information, Mr John Tia Akologo, visited some the districts in the Region to explain government policies and programmes to them.
At the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly hall, Assemblymen including a cross-section of the public who attended the forum, complained about the recent increment and wondered why the fee which was GHc150 last academic year should be increased by such a margin.
The situation was not different from the Bongo District and the Talensi Nabdam Districts where members of the public expressed the same sentiment.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, Mr. Adongo Apambila, a peasant farmer, said "I cannot afford to pay my daughter's school fees even though she got good grades to Senior High School. My two brothers are also in the same situation" he remarked.
The Paramount Chief of Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Baba Salifu Aleemyaroom, said many parents had come to him to complain and ask for assistance to pay their ward's fees, but he could not help.
He said if the situation was not reversed the education of many children in the area would be jeopardised, stressing that "the imposition of such high fees by the Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior High Schools (CHASS) is not the best considering the deprived nature of the Region".
The paramount chief indicated that one of the strategies that could be used to address the poverty situation in the area was education and questioned what would happen to the future of the Region if most children dropped out of school as a result of poverty.
He said education at every level should be seen as a right and not a privilege, adding that parents could not afford to send their children to SHSS let alone to the tertiary level.
The Chief said the situation was getting worse with the girl child education as many of them got pregnant and forced into marriages whilst at home because their parents could not afford to pay their schools fees at the SHSS level.
He called on Government to, as a matter of urgency, review SHSS fees in the area to enable parents to send their children to school.
The Information Minister said he would liaise with the Ghana Education Service and other appropriate authorities to see how they could resolve the problem.