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A five-member delegation of the national executives of Mfanstipim Old Boys Association (MOBA), last Monday, met with the Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of tertiary education, Hon. Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, to request permission for Mr. John Ankomah Simpson, interdicted headmaster of the their alma mater,  Mfantsipim School, to enable him travel to the United Kingdom to launch a school exchange programme between Mfantsipim school, Cape Coast, and Queens College, Taunton, UK. He is scheduled to depart Accra, Ghana on Friday, 22nd January, and return on Sunday, 31st January, 2016.

The delegation led by the national president of MOBA, Capt. Paul Forjoe, described as disturbing, the earlier directive from the Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr. Jacob Kor, asking him to step aside until investigations are conducted, to interdiction.

He, however, gave the assurance that MOBA National and its executives remained fully briefed on events as they unfold and had also requested restraint from all Old Boys to allow room for due process.

Taking his turn, a Council Member of MOBA, Nana Brew-Buttler, said the exchange programme  between the two schools is the product of three years of planning by alumni of both schools, financed by MOBA ’86 UK and spearheaded by their MOBA colleagues in the UK and Ghana.

His explanation was that the former headmaster remained the primary person to be able to articulate and share the situation on the ground to their MOBA UK community, having been at the forefront of serving their former school for the past few years. He added that apart from already acquiring a UK entry visa, the invitation of attendees was person-specific and could not be altered.

Taking over from Nana Buttler, the president of MOBA indicated that they were very mindful that any interruption to the programme would impact negatively on old boys’ continued support for the school and asked the Ministry and the GES to give their request a positive response.

In his response to the first issue, the Director General of GES, explained at length, the circumstances that led to the headmaster’s interdiction. According to him, many school heads were caught in the web of collecting unapproved fees last year and the matter went up to the GES Council for discussion.

He said following that a letter dated 15th October, 2015 was dispatched to all schools, warning heads of severe sanctions when caught in the act but it fell on deaf ears.

Mr. Jacob Kor recalled that on hearing of rumours circulating about the collection of unapproved fees at Mfanstsipim School, he personally went to the school to admonish the head because of his involvement in the same issue the previous year as well as over enrolment and admitting students outside the placement list.

The Director General disclosed that he had given the Central Regional Director of Education up to January 25 to conclude investigations and present a report on the findings and recommendations for the attention of Council.

Turning to the second issue of granting permission to the former head to travel to the UK, he said legal advice he sought from the GES legal officer was that if the visa was acquired before the interdiction, then he could travel with it. He was also advised that if the interdiction letter did not restrict him from travelling outside the country, he should be allowed to travel.

It was also agreed that a letter of approval to travel should come from the GES Council but that should be based on a formal request in writing to the DG of GES stating when he will return for the investigations to continue.

Both the Deputy Minister and the Chief Director of the MoE expressed concerns about the credibility of the former head representing the school outside the country in view of the issue being in all the media networks. They equally cautioned that all the necessary clearance should be obtained to enable him travel without any problem with security officers at the various airports.

Other members of the delegation were Mr. E. E. Kwesie, Mr. Kotey Hammond and Prof. David Ofosu-Adjei.

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