The Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) has called on the government to close down all unregistered private schools operating in the country.
In addition, it said remedial schools which were running secondary school programmes should also be closed down, since they were not paying taxes to the government.
According to the association, the government was losing billions of cedis through the operations of these illegal entities which also charged exorbitant fees, thereby tarnishing the image of genuine providers of quality education.
“There is a total breakdown of licensing, registration and monitoring processes. Indeed, there is no law and order and it appears there is no controlling body in place,” the President of GNAPS, Mr Godwin Sowah, said at a news conference in Accra yesterday to launch the 2007 GNAPS Week on the theme, “50 Years of Private Education”.
He explained that unregistered schools which lured unsuspecting parents and children ended up disappointing both by failing to register students for the May-June West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), after promising to register them for the examinations.
“Sometimes such schools take huge sums of money from parents to register their children with legally registered and recognised private schools.
They forge the continuous assessment figures for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on behalf of such students, thereby undermining the legitimacy and authenticity of national examination results and the certificate thereof,” he stated.
Mr Sowah pointed out that there was the need to clean up the educational front, as all kinds of schools were now emerging, and do something about the situation before it got out of hand.
He said the responsibility of GNAPS was to partner the government to provide educational structures and to carry for the government part of the burden of educational management and funding, adding that the objective of GNAPS was to enhance the quality of learning through the effective and efficient delivery of the curriculum, as well as provide a range of educational and social experiences appropriate to the age, ability and needs of pupils.
Mr Sowah appealed to the government to support GNAPS with the needed financial support from the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to build the needed capacity to execute a more efficient and effective supervisory oversight role for private schools.
The private educational sector, he said, had contributed effectively to the delivery of quality education in the country as “we have shared with the government its responsibility to provide educational structures, manage and fund education across the length and breadth of this country”.
He said in so doing, the government had been saved huge sums of money to service other vital areas of the national economy, saying that as district assemblies assumed responsibilities for schools, they should not forget that the responsibility for student performance rested not just with educators but also the political authorities, parents and communities.
Mr Sowah said they (assemblies) must be reminded that their role was not to fund education in their districts but invest in the sector.
Story by Emmanuel Bonney