Ghana: Include private schools in the free SHS policy

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The National Executive Director of the Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS), Mr. Enoch Kwasi Gyetuah, has urged the government to review the implementation of the Free High Schools (SHS) policy to include private schools in the country.

“Partnerships should be extended to private school owners to end dual track systems, reduce burdens on government with funding issues and parental complaints,” he said.

Speaking to the Ghanaian Times last Saturday in Accra, Mr Gyetuah said that although the free SHS policy discouraged most parents from bringing their wards to private schools, the policy was not inclusive and had to deal with challenges.

Currently, due to the growing economic challenges facing the country, he noted that the Free SHS as well as other government flagship programs are under threat due to funding hurdles, hence the need for partnership.

“If private schools were involved, the cost would have gone down, especially for those who could afford the fees, as public schools are now very strangled by inadequate infrastructure,” he said.

Mr. Gyetuah assured that the private schools were ready to absorb students into their establishments and was willing to hand over their premises to the government to be used to support and ensure that every child receives a better education.

“We are waiting for the government to sit down with the heads of private schools to add private schools to the free SHS policy so that we can all agree on what to do, so that we can also bring our infrastructure to complete what the government has started”, he assured.

Since the rollout of the program, Mr. Gyetuah said, most private schools have faced low admissions, leading to the layoff of some teachers.

“At one point we had to cut our expenses, so some teachers had to be fired because we only depended on students who couldn’t pass their exams and they were rushing to private institutions for their NOV/DEC and d other programs.

Few parents bring their wards and currently most facilities are ideal,” he added.

He therefore urged the government to review the free SHS policy and partner with private schools as had been done with mission schools, which would help reduce unemployment among teachers who were mostly the victims.

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