Students raise alarm over high school fees

CedisThe second cohort of the Untrained Diplomate Teachers in Basic Education, are crying foul over what they describe as ‘exorbitant school fees’ being charged them by the Northern Colleges of Education.

The students have paid GH¢314 for 21 days as school fees, and an additional GH¢100 as examination fees, bringing the total to GH¢414 for the three weeks’ stay in school.

Master Benjamin Tenga, President of the Tumu College of Education UTDBE Student Representative Council (SRC),  revealed this in an exclusive interview with the Ghana News Agency, during their SRC Week celebration at Tumu.

He said such exorbitant fees had resulted in some of their colleagues dropping out of the programme, because they could not afford the fees to enable them stay and complete the programme.

He explained that they paid such exorbitant school fees without knowing exactly what they were paying for, adding that several attempts on their part to know the breakdown from their various college authorities had proofed futile, as Principals of the Colleges had failed to listen to their concern.

The Tumu College of Education UTDBE SRC President said because government refused to be part of the programme,  that was why they were being “taken advantage of,  by the Principles of the Colleges.”

Master Tenga said, currently their future looked bleak, because some district directors of education were unwilling to engage the UTDBE products, because of government’s failure to recognize the programme.

He appealed to government to prevail upon the Ministry of Education to look into the matter,  in order to reduce the fees to a reasonable level for them, and also give full recognition to the programme, to enhance their chances of being engaged by the Ghana Education Services (GES).

Meanwhile, Mr. Mumuni Yahaya, the 2014 National Best Teacher had underscored the importance of the UTDBE programme, saying it would help address the about 50,000 teacher-deficit at the basic school level.

He said about 80,000 of the teachers that were already in the system, were untrained.

The 38 Colleges of Education in the country absorb and churn out a little over 9,000 teachers every year, out of which 20 percent of them normally refuse to take up their appointments, he disclosed.

Mr. Yahaya said about 18,000 people apply to further their education every year, but only 5,000 are normally considered.

He, therefore, appealed to government to absorb all the UTDBE holders who are not yet on the payroll, and upgrade all those who are already there, to professional teachers.

The 2014 National Best Teacher noted that completing school was not the panacea to addressing the education challenges, saying there were still about 64 percent of students at the basic school level who could not read.

This, he noted, called for teachers to wake up and eschew negative tendencies, such as lateness to school, non-preparation of lesson notes, and other immoral behaviours,  and rather embrace punctuality and discipline, in order to serve as role models for their students.

Mr William Safo, Sissala East District Deputy Co-ordinating Director, commended authorities of the College and the students, for using the SRC week to embark on a massive clean-up exercise, and urged them to continue in that spirit,  in order to keep their surroundings clean at all times

He said government would continue to expand facilities in all 38 Colleges of Education, to befit their new status as Tertiary Institutions, while assisting them to increase their admission quotas of teacher-trainees.

Kuoro Richard Babini Kanton the Sixth, Paramount Chief of the Tumu Traditional Area, appealed to the students to stay in the district and teach after completing their courses, because the district lacked teachers.

He assured them that he would liaise with his sub-chiefs to ensure the welfare and safety of teachers in all the communities.

Source: GNA

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