The Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS) has stated that at least 400,000 private school teachers will be rendered jobless in September 2020 if the Ministry of Education insists on compulsory licensing of private teachers.
According to the council, if this policy is implemented, it will increase the level of unemployment in the country.
“We all bear witness to the outstanding performance of private schools and their contribution to education in Ghana. We can state emphatically that even though about 80% of our teachers are unlicensed, we the private schools have performed exceptionally in the past years of our existence,” the council stated.
The council announced that it had put together a scheme that would help maintain, train, license and absorb the existing teachers into the profession seamlessly, adding that the scheme is known as ‘The GNACOPS Volunteer Service Scheme.’
Speaking at a packed press conference in Accra yesterday to brief Ghanaians on update of the reopening of schools and the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme (CAP) for private schools, the Executive Director of GNACOPS, Mr Enoch Gyetuah, said the council has proposed to the government and Ministry of Education to work on developing and establishing a Private Education Policy, which will lay out regulations and foster cooperation between the private schools and the sector ministry.
Efforts by GNACOPS
Mr Gyetuah said currently there are over 22,000 registered private schools in the country, which employ over 400,000 workers and advocate the mastering of quality-based education with emphasis on academic excellence, creative exposures, sporting disciplines and religious and moral upbringing of students.
He said the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the closure of schools, had impacted negatively on the finances of private schools, whose incomes are dependent on fee payments by parents and loans from the financial institutions.
Mr Gyetuah said GNACOPS met with the Finance Ministry after dealing with the MoE executives, where it was realised the council should collect one month’s payment voucher for all private school teachers across the country.
“Based on this, the council was able to collate details on about 96,000 teachers from 4300 schools interested in the grant which is being sought by the council as a relief for its members.
He said the council was then redirected to the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) for the inclusion of private schools in the CAPSUPPORT Programme, a relief fund introduced by the President for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises as “we await a response to the grant request.”
The council praised the government for showing much effort in fighting Covid-19 and also putting measures in place to ensure that businesses were better placed in these hard times.
The council said as at June 30, 2020 all the sixteen regional coordinators of the GNACOPS had confirmed that all private schools had received PPE promised by the President.
The Executive Director said, “It has come to the notice of the council that some district directors of education in various districts are issuing some threat to ban some schools for boarding the final year’s students.
“The point we want to put out there is that all private schools who have received the endorsement of parents’ to keep their children, it is free to do so by observing and meeting all agreed safety protocols. On the other hand, schools with no boarding facilities should not adopt ad hoc measures to keep final year students.”
At the end, the General Manager of Pthos AIB, Mr Felix Danso, on behalf of the company, donated hand sanitizers and other disinfectant materials worth over GH?40,000.00 to the council for onward distribution to all private schools in the country.