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06.07.2005 Regional News

Candidates pay over 50 million cedis in exam halls

GNA

Koforidua, July 6, GNA - More than 50 million cedis being fees arrears was collected from a number of final year students in three Senior Secondary Schools (SSS) in Koforidua in their examination halls on Monday.

The students had apparently kept the monies on themselves until the onset of the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSCE).

The school authorities said they had been compelled to mount the exercise to retrieve the arrears as it dawned on them that most of the final year students owing millions of cedis in fee arrears had, in fact, been given the amount to pay up by their parents and guardians.

At the Pope John Secondary School and Junior Seminary (POJOSS), the headmaster, Mr Paul Ofori-Atta said the school was able to collect about 30 million cedis from the affected students out of the 209 million cedis they were owing the school.

At the Koforidua Secondary/Technical School(SECTECH), the school authorities managed to collect 20 million cedis out of the 120 million cedis owed, while at the Koforidua Secondary School(KOSEC), about six million cedis was collected on the same day.

According to a source at the KOSEC, as on Monday, only ten out of the 296 final year students of the school had fully paid their fees. The source said some of the students even had their monies with them in the examination halls, while others kept theirs in the dormitories but were able to pay when they were threatened that they would be prevented from taking their English Oral paper.

The headmaster of SECTECH, Mr John K. Bempong, said he had been asking the students to go home to bring their fees on days that they did not have papers to write or bring their parents for discussions on how the amount involved could be settled.

He said some of the students owed as low as 30,000 cedis while others owed over one million cedis.

Mr Bempong said he believed the fees had been given to the students and they have spent the money while others had used theirs to register for the November/December SSSCE.

Commenting on the non-payment of fees by the final year students, Mr Lawrence Agyemang, an Assistant Director of Education in charge of Second-Cycle Institutions in the Eastern Region said some of the students he spoke to claimed that they refused to pay their school fees because of the strike action by the National Association of Graduate Teachers(NAGRAT).

He explained that the threat used by the heads of the various institutions was just a means to get the students to pay up their fees since the Director General of Education had directed that no students should be prevented from taking the final examination for non-payment of fees.

Mr Agyemang disclosed that a total of 16,123 students, comprising 8,804 males and 7,319 females from 74 secondary schools were taking part in the examination in the Eastern Region.

He said 9 students were absent during the first day of the examination in the Koforidua municipality but the total figure for the whole region was yet to be ascertained.

Mr Agyemang cited death and sickness as some of the reasons for the absenteeism, adding that some of the registered students also travelled out of the country shortly after registration.

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