Information available to Today shows that students who have applied for admission into various public nursing training institutions in the country are being charged a minimum of GH₵150 non-refundable interview fees.
Each applicant is expected to pay between 150 and 200 Ghana Cedis in order to appear before interview panels who have been tasked with the responsibility of selecting qualified students for enrollment for the 2015/2016 academic year, our checks further revealed.
According to sources, applicants will automatically forfeit their place if they fail to pay up since the fee is what grants them the clearance to be interviewed for admission.
Since Tuesday, the offices of this paper as well as Amansan Television (ATV) have been inundated with telephone calls from desperate students who raised concerns about the fee.
Others also revealed that they had already appeared for the interview after paying up saying they were appalled at the development which amounted to extortion.
The practice, Today learnt, was widespread and was affecting applicants for the various programs being ran by these public nursing training schools under the ministry of health including Community, General and Peri-Operative and Critical Care Nursing students.
Meanwhile Today has intercepted a copy of an invitation letter written to all applicants seeking entry to the School of Peri-Operative and Critical Care Nursing, Korle Bu in Accra which confirmed the imposition of interview fees.
The letter signed by the Principal of the school, Kwaku Asante Krobea, apart from asking the students to bring along all original copies of certificates when coming for the interview also directed them to pay GH₵150 as interview fees.
Speaking to Today, an official of the school disclosed that 60% of the funds generated from the interview fee goes into the coffers of the school as internally generated fund whiles part goes into paying for the sitting allowances of the members of the interview panel.
The remainder (40%), the source revealed, is paid into the coffers of the ministry of health.
Speaking to Nana Yaw Fianko, host of ATV current affairs show ‘Asem Yi Dika’ on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 Mr. Asante Krobea corroborated what had been told this paper earlier in terms of how the amount was shared.
He further disclosed that the interview fee which is not new had been sanctioned by the health ministry.
However, Today has been unable to confirm from the ministry as at press time.
Several calls to the ministry’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) were not answered; the same applied to the responsible ministers.
The School of Peri-Operative and Critical Care is not the sole culprit as other training colleges also do charge for interviews.
Each year thousands of students apply for admission into the various nursing training school even though there are limited spaces available.
This means the schools generate huge sums from the sale of the forms as part of their internally generated funds. But no one can vouch whether the authorities account for these funds.
Yet the schools still charge students and poor parents extra amounts for interview in addition to what they pay for the admission forms.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, John Alexander Akon, has called for an explanation why nursing students are charged to appear for admission interview.
Mr. Akon, who was a panelist on the ATV programme, demanded to know what the interview fee is used for.
He wondered how a student who has not been admitted is made to pay to appear for an interview which he thought was further burdening students and parents.
Other members of the TV panel including MP for Kade, Asamoah Ofosu, felt the schools were engaging in an open extortion which constituted an illegality.
They called for investigations into the development and asked authorities to stop schools from burdening already impoverished students.
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