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15.11.2005 Education

UCC probes deals in payment of distance education fees

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Cape Coast, Nov.15, GNA - The Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) is investigating "fraudulent deals" in the payment of fees involving about 1,000 of the Centre's 5,000 students admitted to pursue the programme this academic year. Mr Albert Koomson, Director of the CCE, who disclosed this at Cape Coast on Tuesday, said the names of the students involved cannot be found with the UCC's bankers as having paid their fees, although they have presented pay-in-slips indicating that they have done so, and said those found culpable, would be dismissed outright.

Mr Koomson, was addressing a press conference in reaction to reported demonstrations by some of the final year students in some of its study centres across the country, on Monday.

He explained that as a result of the fact that some of the students owed more than three billion cedis as arrears in school fees from the last academic year, invigilators at the study centres refused to allow the final year students who are owing, to write their first semester quizzes'.

Giving a breakdown of the fees paid for the two programmes run by the centre, he said students undertaking basic education programme, pay 1,570,000 cedis in the first year, 1,410,000 cedis in the second year, and 1,640,000 in the third year, while fees for Commerce and Management Studies programme are 3.2 million cedis, 3,070,000 and 3,070,000 for the first, second and third years respectively.

He however, regretted some of the students, had "grossly abused the special privilege" of paying their fees in installments, and said the UCC was running the programme at a "very huge cost". According to him, more than 3.2 billion cedis worth of study materials have been provided the students for this academic year alone, in addition to the payment of allowances of course facilitators and monitors.

He claimed that the action of the students was generated by a reported radio announcement by the Minister of Education and sports to the effect that the government would absorb their fees. He said as a result, although the university sent reminders to the students to pay part of their fees before writing the examinations some of them refused to comply and they were therefore barred. Mr Koomson said some of the students who had even finished the three-year course and were awaiting graduation, have still not paid their fees and said the centre therefore, would seek any means available to collect the fees.

He, in this regard, cautioned that if care is not taken, the university authorities would be forced to demand outright payment of the fees next year, stressing that the distance education programme "has come to stay and that the centre would not allow some few students to halt this laudable programme that had given a lot of Ghanaians the opportunity to upgrade themselves."

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