Mr Joseph Connel
The Ghana Education Service (GES) has reinstated Joseph Connel, headmaster of St Augustine’s College, who was interdicted whilst being investigated for allegedly charging unapproved fees.
In a letter dated December 23, 2016 and signed by Jacob A.M. Kor, the Director General of the GES, it was stated that the reversal of the interdiction took immediate effect.
The committee set up to investigate the alleged collection of unapproved levies observed that the amount collected was GH¢310 instead of the GH¢435 reported in the media.
Out of the GH¢310 collected, GH¢140 was for chaplaincy books, college brochure and outing shirt.
The difference of GH¢170 collected by the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) was based on a decision taken at a (PTA) general meeting. It was aimed at solving some challenges in the school, including poor sewerage, broken benches, bad bed planks and desks.
The committee also noted that matching the number of parents who paid and the number of students admitted at that time, it gave clear evidence that the collection was an appeal and not an imposition.
It said Mr Connel had worked assiduously with the GES for more than 30 years in various capacities without blemish, and that that was the first administrative error he had committed.
On the face of the findings, the statement indicated that the headmaster could not be singled out and implicated based on the available evidence. The committee recommended that Mr Connel should be warned, exonerated and reinstated.
The interdiction of Mr Connel led to a number of protests by the Board of Governors of the College, the St Augustine’s Past Students’ Union (APSU) and the PTA.
Members raised a number of flaws in the whole process, including the procedure for the interdiction, date and time of interdiction and investigation and a breach of natural justice.
The Board also questioned why the Central Regional Director of Education would exempt himself from the emergency meeting that interdicted Mr Connel and instead chose to nominate someone to represent him on the board of the investigative committee.
APSU has lauded Mr Connel’s reinstatement and had sent a ‘thank you’ letter to the Director General of the GES.
Mr Connel assured the stakeholders of his total commitment to the betterment of the school.