The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), says there is fear and panic among headteachers across the country following the interdiction of some headteachers. The Ghana Education Service (GES) on December 8, 2023, instructed two Senior High School heads to step aside as it initiates investigations into allegations of a breach of their code of conduct.
This follows accusations that the two headmistresses were involved in charging unapproved fees and selling items to first-year students as part of the admission process. According to the President of CHASS, Reverend Steven Owusu Sekyere, the allegations of breach of the code of conduct was not the exact situation on the grounds, and he has since taken steps to meet with education officials to intervene on behalf of its members.
“Some of the issues are not the way they have been reported to him. So maybe we pray that the Regional Director will listen to us and look into the matter. Where our members are going wrong, we can all gather and resolve the matter, so that is what we are going to do. We are supporting them by calming them down. We don’t know who and who did what because most of them are denying the accusations levelled against them. So, we don’t know where the truth lies, and we are going to find out,” he said in an interview on Luv FM on December 11, 2023.
Meanwhile, Rev. Sekyere wants the public to be measured in their accusations until investigations are concluded on the matter. When asked about the interdicted headteachers, the CHASS President said that although they are doing well, the development has taken a toll on them.
“Everybody is fine, even though they are not happy. They are down emotionally, and we are trying to meet with them. We are going to talk to them and try to get them up psychologically to be strong because it seems to me there is some fear and panic in the region among the heads,” he added. He explained that following the incident, many of the secondary schools have come under scrutiny.
“They tell me that people in their schools are trying to get information, and when it happens this way, those who don’t like you in the school will also take advantage and peddle all kinds of stuff against you. So we want to calm them down so they can also have that courage to work as heads of these schools,” he added.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, says following their investigations into the matter, they discovered that charging unapproved fees was a general practice in schools. He added that the few who were interdicted had printed their prospectus and accompanying charges.
“We have also discovered that there are many item-based models by some school heads unto parents. It cuts across boards, desks, admission fees, and medical fees. There are schools taking about GH₵200 cedis for NHIS and then many of the schools were virtually running boutiques. You know they are selling items,” he said on JoyFM’s Newsnight. Mr Asare explained that some of the schools appear to have stocked up in anticipation of selling the items to prospective students, but the GES releasing a unified prospectus gave the freedom to parents to shop from the open market.
He stressed that this phenomenon was widespread, but some of the school heads had not documented it, so it was difficult to get evidence. However, parents were paying, emphasising that the few who were interdicted were those who had them scripted on paper, so there was evidence. On the back of this, he said there is a need for further investigations by the GES to ascertain the magnitude of the extortion.
By: Connielove Mawutornyo Dzodzegbe