'Stop caning our children over unpaid school fees' - Angry parents tell school authorities
Parents of Saviour International School at Konongo Low Cost has come to terms with school authorities after storming the school yesterday. It is normal in most schools across Ghana when students fail to pay their school fees on time, and Saviour International School students were not exempted when most of the pupils didn't pay their school fees as the school administration demanded. Mary who had a ward at the school, narrated her ordeals with me over the phone when her child was punished for not paying her school fees.
Mary is a single parent and a trader who deals in market goods. She lost her husband years back and has been herself taking care of her daughter. Mary has never defaulted in paying her wards school fees, but the school nerve exempted the child when they were sacking the defaulters home to go for their school fees. The school reopened in January 2021 when the student had sat home for a whole year without academic classes. The students had paid in full all their fees before the academic term for 2019/2020 was called off by the government. The school in its reopening in January 2021 gave parents only a 4% discount on the fees instead of subtracting what they paid the previous term (2019/2020) and adding it to the January 2021 term.
Mary for instance paid over 400 Cedis for her ward for the 2021/2022 academic term which started in January 2021. The student was allowed to study for three months and two weeks before been going on a one week vacation. They reported back to the school last two weeks, and per school regulations, all students reporting to school should either pay half of their fees or pay full fees before they could return to classes. While few parents were able to afford the half and full payment policy for the reopening date, most parents could not afford to pay the money and was hoping the school authorities will give them at least one month to sort the bills but that wasn't the case.
The school which is barely two weeks into the new second (May) term of the 2021/2022 academic calendar started from last week Thursday, sacking pupils and students home for the school fees. Most parents complained but there was no money for them and hoped the school will reconsider their actions. On Monday 17 May, the school did not reconsider their actions after sacking the students home on Thursday 13 May, and repeated the same activities by sacking the students home for their fees. School authorities ended up beating some of the students who were grown-ups to either come back with the 50% school reopening fees or full payment.
This angered most of the parents as they stormed the school premises yesterday demanding the school authorities to abstain from caning their children over the unpaid school fees. Mary who has her child in form two, released anger on why students should be caned whiles they are not the ones who pay the bills and why the school authorities can't be considerate since vacation was only one week before students were recalled back to school, and not all parents can use the one week to get back the money needed to cover the 50% or full payment policy.
The school principal who received the angry parents Mrs Nsafour Agnes calmed them down and explained why the students were caned, but the majority of the parents which Mary was part of, still didn't accept that excuse. After three hours of meeting with the angry parents and school authorities, it was agreed for parents to clear the arrears of their wards in 6 weeks which all the parents agreed to.