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09.10.2008 Editorial

GNPSA has no case

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Elsewhere in this edition, we have carried the reaction of the Ghana National Private Schools Association (GNPSA) to the government's failure to recognise and award teachers in private schools. The Brong-Ahafo Regional Chairman of GNPSA, Nana Kwadwo Kwakye, who spoke to our correspondent, said “until the Ghanaian teacher, whether in a public or private school, was adequately recognised and awarded, Ghana's quest for quality education for all, may never be achieved, since public schools alone cannot cater for all children of school-going age in the country.”

In his view if private medical doctors were allowed to operate under the National Health Insurance Scheme, nothing prevented the state from honouring private teachers, who are undoubtedly, contributing to the quality of education in the country.

We do not know whether it was a deliberate decision by the government, to exclude the private teachers, but no matter the situation government cannot be blamed.

The Chronicle thinks government cannot be blamed, because the rationale behind the teachers' award was to motivate them to give off their best. Readers would agree that it is always students or children from the public sector schools, who perform badly in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE). Products from the private schools perform well academically, because their teachers are well motivated by their proprietors.

In such a circumstance, one cannot expect government to rope in teachers from private schools for awards, if the idea behind the latter, was to motivate teachers to give of their best. Teachers in public schools are working in difficult environments, especially in the rural areas where private schools are almost non-existent. Children in these deprived areas, are also citizens of this country, therefore there is the need for the government to motivate the teacher to stay there, and give quality education to them.

The contribution being made by the private schools towards the development of this country cannot be underestimated. That does not, however, mean that these private schools should equate themselves with the public ones, and expect the government to extend a helping hand to them always.

The private schools charge high fees, and also pay the teachers far better than those in the public sector, The Chronicle would like to ask what other better remuneration do they want given to them, unless they are willing to be on the same salary scale as their counterparts in the public sector, which would mean that all things being equal they would also qualify for the awards, which are an inducement to the poor public school teacher.

To motivate them to give off their best government has introduced several incentive packages for public sector health workers, but we are yet to hear those in the private sector complaining that the incentives had not been extended to them, even though they are all working to ensure good health for Ghanaians.

Ideally, it would have been better if government had roped teachers in the private schools, but since Ghana as a country has limited resources, it cannot be blamed for the current situation. Proprietors of private schools have the responsibility to ensure that their teachers are well-motivated, to impart good knowledge to their students to attract more students, and subsequently advance their businesses, which they are already doing, so there is no need to fight with public sector teachers.

The Chronicle suggests that the GNAPS should rather institute its own awards, which they are capable of doing.

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