The Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) has alleged that there seems to be a conspiracy to sabotage private schools in the country through unfavourable policies and total neglect of policy interventions by the government in an attempt to boost public schools.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 8th Biennial National delegates conference Wednesday, August 17, 2022, in Koforidua, the President of GNAPS Dr Damascus Tuuroson stated that private schools were sidelined in the national standardized test, denied training on the new curriculum, and were treated unfairly in recent computerized selection and placement system.
“The state institutions which are supposed to nurse private schools during this period of crises have failed us rather than assisting us to brace this economic storm. Some state institutions are worsening the plight through their actions, inactions, pronouncements and in some cases deliberate sabotage.
“Inasmuch as many of us are reluctant to believe the conspiracy theorists who claim that some government agencies are deliberately trying to sabotage the progress of private schools as a means of boosting public school education. Current happenings strengthen the position of the conspiracy theorists”
“How else will you explain a suggestion by the Director General of Ghana Education service to the effect that 80% placement into category”A” SHSs should be reserved for public school children whilst private school students seeking to enter Category “A” schools be made to sit an entrance Examination aside the BECE. There appears to be almost 100% concentration on public schools to the neglect of private schools, in particular, our low fees private schools”.
Dr Damascus Tuuroson stressed that GNAPS will go to court to challenge the constitutionality of the priority quota system in category “A” schools.
President of GNAPS Dr. Damascus Tuuroson said the current economic challenges in the country have worsened the plight of private schools after Covid-19 dealt a major blow.
He said the increased policy rate by the Bank of Ghana, high inflation and depreciation of the cedis are suffocating Private schools, particularly low fees schools that depend on loans to run.
“In Ghana covid-19 dealt a mortal blow to private schools especially low-fee private schools many of which are still in the intensive care unit being kept alive with oxygen ventilators. Unfortunately, many schools particularly low fees private schools never recovered from the coronavirus attack. A major lifeline which we used to revive our distressed private schools is credit, however, base rate increases by the bank of Ghana have further worsened the woes of schools as proprietors find it too expensive borrowing from the financial institutions”
“Persistent fuel price hikes have grounded school buses, and increasing prices of foodstuffs have left many private school children hungry staring into the faces of school matrons wondering where their hitherto delicious meals have gone to. The free fall of the cedi against major international currencies especially the US dollar has escalated the cost of doing business to the extent that privates school workers are also crying for the cost of living allowance (COLA)”
He, however, said many parents are struggling to pay fees of their wards due to hardship adding some parents are withdrawing their children to public schools.
“Many parents blame their failure to pay fees on the financial depression government is experiencing currently. The harsh economic situation has reduced enrollment in private schools since many parents cannot afford our fees. At the private senior high school level, the least said about the situation the better. Many private Senior High schools have simply fallen out of business or have diverted to other areas of operation as numbers dwindle, cost of running a business has shot up.
Meanwhile, former President John Dramani Mahama who was the guest speaker at the event reiterated his position for private schools to be included in the Free Senior High School policy.
He also charged private schools to make ICT an integral part of basic education.