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12.07.2005 General News

GES directs dismissed students to write exams, but


Koforidua, July 12, GNA - The Ghana Education Service's (GES) recent directive to heads of second-cycle institutions to allow dismissed final year students to write the on-going Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) has received mixed reactions from some school heads in the Eastern Region.

The Acting Director-General of Education, Mr Michael K. Nsowah, in a circular dated June 13, 2005, to heads of second-cycle institutions directed that the dismissed students should be allowed to write the examination and "parents are to provide escort for their wards to the examination Centres...."

In a survey by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) among some of the school heads in Koforidua, the headmaster of the Pentecost Senior Secondary School, Mr Kojo Butu, described the directive as "quite serious", noting "it only encourages indiscipline".

He said while they were not going to flout the directive, "we are now in a better position to deal with such students the next time around" saying "it's not the end of it, but it teaches us a lesson". According to him, two final year students of his school were sacked for allegedly stealing seven ceiling fans and a DVD player belonging to the school at a time they were made to stay in the school during the last long holiday to enable them to study.

He said though all the items were retrieved from them after police investigations, "families and others have pleaded for them not to be prosecuted".

"This is a criminal act. Will they have had the opportunity to write the examination had they been imprisoned?", he asked.

The headmaster of Pope John Secondary School(POJOSS), Mr Paul Ofori-Atta also described the directive as "tampering justice with mercy".

He said in his school, a student was suspended for examination malpractices, saying despite the directive "we will still abide by the existing code of discipline".

Mr Ofori-Atta said the issue would be taken up at the next meeting of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools(CHASS), saying their position on it would be made known to the GES.

On his part, the headmaster of Koforidua Secondary/Technical School, Mr John K. Bempong, thought the GES should have allowed them to "hit the nail in the head" after they had gone through all the laid down procedure in dismissing the erring students.

He said such a directive had the "tendency to reduce the discipline we are trying to nurture among the students".

According to him, two students of his school were suspended and were writing the examination but in "special uniform". An Assistant Director of Education in-charge of Second-cycle schools in the Eastern Region, Mr Lawrence Agyemang, said though the directive was circulated in time before the examination, yet some heads could not receive their copy resulting in some misunderstanding. He said at certain times he had to come in to resolve issues by showing a copy of the said directives to some of those heads who had still not received their copies.