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09.11.2004 General News

Headmasters throw challenge

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Accra, Nov 9, GNA - The Conference of Heads of Second Cycle Secondary Schools (CHASS) on Tuesday challenged the public to come out with evidence to substantiate allegations against Heads of Schools on bribe taking before admissions.

It said the Conference would not condone any wrong-doing on the part of any head when it was proven that a member was found guilty of this malfeasance.

Mr. Bolina Saaka, President of CHASS said at a press conference in Accra that although there had been such allegations in the past, this year's, had assumed an unprecedented and alarming dimension to the extent that the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service had to place an advert in the newspapers calling for concrete evidence of offending heads.

Mr. Saaka, who is also the Headmaster of Tamale Secondary School said since the advert was placed no one had come out with any prove, adding "as a professional body CHASS would abhor any malfeasance in any nature in the schools with regards to admissions, we are always mindful of the sacred duty we have to mould the character of the youth who are entrusted to our care."

He said, " we are not here to hold brief for any headmaster or headmistress, nevertheless CHASS had observed with great concern the blanket and unsubstantiated allegations against all heads."

He asked; "out of about 500 heads, how many of them had been found to have taken bribes and how many of these cases had been substantiated? "Since the advert in the papers how many culprits have been reported to the ministry."

He said answers to those questions were vital to salvage the tarnishing and sinking image of its members.

He added that all unsubstantiated allegations should not be trumpeted around as if they were true because this would undermine the delicate relationship between the student and the teacher.

"We are determined to improve upon Ghana's unenviable 64th position of transparency International league table of the World's most corrupt nations."

He expressed the hope that with the introduction of the computerised school selection process next year, these allegations would halt.

" When the list of qualified candidates for admission into second cycles was published some candidates do not turn up and the heads have to use their discretion to fill such vacant places. This stage is the beginning of our woes and problems."

He said it is this stage that chiefs, opinion leaders, district assemblies, politicians, old students, corporate bodies, friends and even some of the teachers become frontmen in the admission process.

"It is at this stage also that some of these people may demand money ostensibly to be given to the headmaster for admission but which never get to him."

He said for example that the headmaster of a school in the Eastern Region reported a case where a gentleman collected various sums of money from parents with the promise to offer their wards admission in the school. On the day of reopening he put all his unsuspecting victims in a bus, sent them to the school and abandoned them to their fate.

This case, he said, was reported to the then Director-General and the police, adding that there were a lot of similar cases in the system during admission period but time and space would not allow them to recount all.

Mr Samuel Ofori-Adjei, Headmaster of Ebenezer Secondary School called for public support to expose and weed out the bad nuts among them.

He said some people go round collecting money from unsuspecting parents with fake school registration forms and appealed to parents to go to the school of their ward's choice to find out any information on either registration forms or to seek admission.

Mrs Jane Chinebuah, Headmistress of O'reilly Secondary School said, "I sincerely tell some of the people who request admission for their wards that I do not have vacancy if there is actually no vacancy and nobody has penalised me for that."

She said it would be a painful experience to forcefully admit a student who does not qualify or admit them because of a bribe only to withdraw that student after the first year because from her experience such students even when admitted do not perform.

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