Some private schools are appealing to the government to make such schools beneficiaries of the Capitation Grant.
They contend that if the grant is meant for all children in basic schools, then children in private schools should not be denied the facility.
Making the appeal through the Junior Graphic, the National President of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS), Mr Godwin Sowah, said some of their members, especially those in the rural areas, were losing their pupils to public schools because of the grant.
He named private schools in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Eastern regions as the most affected, adding that the situation has become worse with the introduction of the school feeding programme.
“That is why most of our members feel that if the capitation grant is extended to cover children in their schools, parents may not withdraw their children from the private schools,” he explained.
Mr Sowah, however, said if the government agreed to extend it to private schools, it should be optional so that interested proprietors would forward their names to their district directors of education.
He noted however, that accepting the grant could reduce the standard of education in some schools, since parents might not be ready to pay for exercise books, textbooks and other educational materials.
He said some proprietors were not keen on allowing their schools to be included as beneficiaries of the grant and would, therefore, want to opt out if the grant was extended to private schools.
Reacting to the appeal, Mr Stephen Adu, Director, Basic and Secondary Education of the GES said the Capitation Grant was instituted to ensure that children from needy homes also had the opportunity of attending school.
To him, children in private schools could not be clasified as 'needy' and therefore, could not benefit from the Capitation Grant.
This is because as Mr Adu explained, private schools owners established their schools with profit motive adding that “if a parent is able to pay the school fees of his child in a private school, it means that he does not need any Capitation Grant to educate his child”.
Touching on the School Feeding Programme, Mr Adu pointed out that not all public schools were covered by the programme.
Nonetheless, he was of the opinion that private schools could be included in the future and stated, “but for now, the concentration is on needy children.”
Story by Severious Kale Dery