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23.12.2005 General News

GES probes more heads for alleged unauthorised levies

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Twifo-Praso (C/R), Dec. 23, GNA - The acting Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr Michael Nsowah, on Thursday said the GES was investigating more heads of basic schools following reports that pupils in their schools were being asked to pay unauthorised levies.

He warned that, if any of them were found guilty they would also be sanctioned, with demotion and transfer.

Mr Nsowah announced this at the inauguration of a 920 million cedis new office block for the Twifo-Hemang-Lower-Denkyira District Education Directorate at Twifo Praso.

The occasion coincided with the District Best Teacher Awards ceremony and the presentation of 25 television sets, valued at 170 million cedis to selected schools, circuit centres and area councils to promote the President's Special Initiative (PSI) on distance learning. It would be recalled that the GES recently demoted and transferred a number of basic school heads, found to be charging illegal levies in their schools.

Mr Nsowah further warned that headteachers, who also misappropriate the capitation grant would be dealt with and advised those, who head both primary and junior secondary schools to open one account for the grant to ensure its efficient management.

He advised both parents and teachers to abide by the rules on the implementation of the grant to ensure that all Ghanaian children acquired at least, basic education, "since basic education was a human right for all children" He cautioned headteachers against allowing Parent-Teacher-Associations (PTAs) to manipulate them by instituting laws for them and said no PTA had the right to do so and urged headteachers to justify the various levies they collect in the name of PTAs.

According to him, that a survey conducted in four regions indicated that some schools were asking their pupils to pay as many as 20 levies. Mr Nsowah commended the awards winners and urged them to work harder to enable them win national awards in future.

Mr Abraham Dwuma Odoom, Deputy Minister of Local Government denied allegations that the government had abandoned projects initiated by the previous government, and said the new office block, was started by the previous government.

He said the district would benefit from the NEPAD's school feeding programme and advised teachers of the beneficiary schools not to sell the food that would be provided for the programme. He called for the culture of maintenance and urged them to endeavour to regularly, maintain the new office block, and asked the teachers in the district to worker harder to improve upon teaching and learning.

The Minister echoed concerns about the politicisation of issues in the country and called for peace and unity to enhance good governance at the local level.

Mr Yaw Adjebi-Kessie, District Chief Executive, for his part, underscored the important role teachers play in the socio-economic development of the nation and gave the assurance that everything would be done to assist them to enable them give off their best. He commended the awards winners and said the awards should serve as a motivation for more teachers to improve upon their performance and urged those, who have also received the television sets should make good use of them.

Ms Regina Longdon, the District Director of Education in her welcoming address commended the government for introducing the capitation grant, which she said, had led to the doubling of enrolment in all schools in the district.

According to her 6,054 children were enrolled in KG last year but the figure has shot up to 8, 906 this year, while primary schools now have 19,014 as against 16,379 last year, JSS, from 5,509 to 6,541, and at the SSS level from 1,338 to 1,880.

She however, mentioned lack of adequate classrooms as the problem hampering teaching and learning in many of the schools in the area and called on the GES to assist with the rehabilitation of dilapidated school structures, and the provision of more school buildings and teachers' accommodation.

Ms Longdon also appealed for the early completion of the model school for the senior secondary school at Twifo Praso Secondary School and a girls' hostel for the Jukwa Secondary School.