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27.10.2004 Regional News

Lack of transparency in admissions is of concern to MOE- Ohene

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Cape Coast, Oct. 27, GNA - The Minister of state in-charge of tertiary education, Ms. Elisabeth Ohene, on Wednesday expressed concern about the lack of transparency in admissions in second cycle schools in the country.

Ms Ohene, who expressed this concern at the opening of the 42nd annual conference of the Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) at Cape Coast said due to the mistrust on the part of parents in the admission process, most of them unduly pressurise government officials, chiefs, opinion leaders and priests, among others, to seek admission for their wards.

"Parents and guardians resort to the 'protocol list' for admissions because they are not convinced that the process is transparent or equitable" she declared, adding, "this has become a traumatic period for all of us in the education sector".

She was however, hopeful that the introduction of the computerised system for admissions would make the process more transparent, build confidence among Ghanaians and remove the ritual annual pressure that accompanies admissions.

The Minister also observed that there were too many imaginative items on school bills and stressed that it was unacceptable for heads to add things to bills that have not been approved by the Ghana Education Service.

"Even though the ministry will like to leave heads of schools to manage, we have the responsibility to listen to parents and guardians when they bring their complaints to us" she stressed.

She pointed out that when heads stick to the approved fees it would be clear for all Ghanaians to know that the rate of increase in fees since this government took over four years ago is much lower than what has been occurring since 1992.

On infrastructural development the Minister, said government is committed to it and that the first phase of the upgrading of 31 secondary schools is nearing completion and 25 others will be catered for in the second phase, which takes off next year and appealed to heads to cooperate with the ministry to ensure early completion of the projects.

The Minister also urged CHASS to come out on the allegation of corruption against some of its members and reassure parents by stemming the practice if it truly existed.

On discipline, Ms Ohene gave the heads the assurance that her ministry will strongly support heads to instil discipline in students since discipline brings about good results.

Ms. Ohene announced that the government white paper on the new education reforms will be issued next week and hinted that the welfare of teachers features prominently in it.

She appealed to heads to ensure that their schools are "alcohol free zones" and also the practice of occultism and other negative behaviours are rooted out to promote healthy atmosphere for teaching and learning.

The president of CHASS, Mr. Bolina Saaka said the attention of Ghanaians on education has declined, adding that people are not prepared to sacrifice towards quality education and urged all stakeholders to support the sector.

The regional chairman of CHASS, Mr Crosby Kofi Eshun reminded Ghanaians that education is an indispensable enterprise and must therefore, be given the due attention that it deserves to help build the nation.

Mr Eshun, who is also the headmaster of Mfantsipim School, appealed to all to hep stem some negative practices including alcoholism, occultism, and pornography among others, which has reared its head in secondary schools.

Professor Emmanuel Adow Obeng, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, who chaired the function appealed to the heads not to shelve the outcome of the conference but make its recommendations available for use.

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