THREE second-cycle institutions in Koforidua retrieved over ¢160 million in unpaid school fees from candidates for the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in a mad-rush payments to beat the threat to ban them from sitting the examination, which began last Thursday.
The authorities at the Koforidua Secondary-Technical School(SECTECH) from Monday, retrieved over ¢100 million, while Pope John Secondary and Junior Seminary and the Koforidua Secondary School retrieved ¢50 million and ¢9 million, respectively, in school fees from their students.
The authorities confirmed that most of the students had been hoarding the monies owed the school despite being fully aware of a Ghana Education Service directive that school heads should ensure full payment of all school fees from students 28 eight days before their final examinations.
The headmaster of SECTECH, Mr John Bempong, told the Ghana New Agency (GNA) that many of the 570 candidates who were owing the school started paying in droves when information went round that they could be denied entry into the examination halls.
He said although none of the defaulting students was denied access to the halls, the approach, nevertheless, worked as many of the students started making frantic efforts to settle their indebtedness to the school.
Mr Bempong explained that the response was so massive that some non-accounting staff had to be drafted to receive the money to enable the erring students some time to settle before taking their first paper which was Oral English test.
At the Pope John Secondary School where over ¢50 million in banker's drafts were retrieved from students just before the examinations went underway, the GNA observed some students still making payments moments after the first paper had ended.
An assistant headmaster of the school, Mr Mathias Kudiabor, said the bankers drafts were introduced as a measure to reduce the likelihood of students spending their school fees, yet a great number of them, nonetheless, still resorted to keeping the bankers draft with them.
Headmaster of the school, Mr Paul Ofori-Atta, also informed the GNA about frantic efforts being made by some parents to pay off accumulated debts some as much as ¢2.6 million per student in phases.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the conduct of the examination had been peaceful for the 713 candidates registered by the school with only three absent.
At the Koforidua Secondary School where 441 candidates were registered for the examinations, the headmistress, Mrs Matilda Appiah, disclosed that more than nine million cedis was paid by the students just before the first paper, although more than half of the candidates being presented still owed the school.
Mr Asiedu Budu, the assistant headmaster in-charge of Academics at the Ghana Secondary School, said six candidates out of the 462 candidates absented themselves from the English Oral test registered for the WASSCE.
He explained that two of the students absented from the examination on "medical advice" not write the tests, two had travelled out of the country while the remaining two were convalescing from ailments.
A student of Ghana Secondary School, Master Edwin Tufour, told the GNA that he had some pre-exams apprehensions as to what form the WASSCE, which is replacing the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE) will take but said the anxieties waned when he realized that he could effectively answer the questions.
Some 19,201 candidates are billed to sit for the examinations at 80 centres in the Eastern Region.