The leadership of the Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS) led by the Executive Director, Mr. Enoch Kwasi Gyetuah, yesterday, met with some leaders of the opposition NDC at the office of the former President at Cantonment, Accra.
The meeting was at the instance of the host. At the meeting were both the leader and the flagbearer, former President Mahama and the National Chairman, Mr. Ofosu Ampofo.
As part of their stakeholders engagement, the leadership of the NDC invited GNACOPS for a discussion to solicit for GNACOPS contributions as well as their stake in education especially, the role of private schools.
This was to enable the opposition NDC develop a well-rounded manifesto for election 2020 on Education.
The meeting was facilitated by Hon. Peter Nortsu-kotoe, the Member of Parliament for Akasti North Constituency and a Ranking Member for Education in Parliament. The MP, who has followed the activities of GNACOPS and has attended series of conferences of GNACOPS set the tone of the discussion after introduction from both parties.
The Executive Director of GNACOPS, Mr. Enoch Kwasi Gyetuah took the stage and presented to the leadership of the NDC a number of policy issues that would need to be addressed private basic education in the country.
He gave startling statistics about the number of basic private schools operating in the country as well as the number of pupils in these private schools including teachers.
With evidence-based statistics, the Director confirmed the massive role the private sector plays in the development of basic education in Ghana and how it should not be underestimated.
This he said is imperative that those needs and inputs were factored into any educational policy framework in the country.
He made known the partners of GNACOPS both local and international during the meeting which included the Ministry of Education, Ghana Educational Service, the District Assemblies and others.
The Director talked about areas that the government of the NDC can engage GNACOPS to better the fortunes of the Private Basic Schools through GNACOPS when they are able to come to power.
He mentioned areas such as private partnership arrangement in the provision of schools in deprived areas leading to Build Operate and Transfer-BOT system.
He talked about tax considerations in terms of tax exemptions for certain educational tools and equipment when imported into the country as well as other relaxed tax regimes for private school operators.
Also, he spoke about the policy framework that will ensure quality and effective professional teacher development in private schools.
He was happy to announce the achievement of GNACOPS in the professional training of private schools teachers in the country.
He asked for a policy or program that would allow the government to help build logistical support for the Council in their day to day activities should the NDC come back to government.
In conclusion, Mr. Gyetuah stated that, GNACOPS was ever ready to engage all stakeholders as well as all political parties and the current government to push strongly for the welfare of private school teachers, managers, owners and parents for the benefit and growth of the private sector participation in education.
On his part, the National Chairman of the NDC, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo lauded the Council particularly the presentation by the Executive Director, Mr. Gyetuah.
He added his voice to the call of ensuring that private basic schools get representation in policy making proposals that will shape educational policies in the country.
This he said could only come about through the processes of healthy engagements.
He mentioned that the NDC was in the process of crafting a very brilliant manifesto which was holistic and employs the bottom-up approach and that the meeting was timely.
Prof. Joshua Alabi, an educationalist and senior party member of the NDC also indicated that he was impressed with the Council and what they were doing to project the image of private basic schools in the country and urged the Council to continue with their engagements with all key stakeholders.
On his part, the former President and now the leader and flagbearer of the NDC, His Excellency, John Dramani Mahama promised not to turn his back at the GNACOPS when he recaptures power next year.
He said the NDC would ensure that all issues raised which were feasible and doable would be factored into its manifesto.
He recounted how through stakeholders meetings and consultations, the Ghana Education Trust fund was established during the period of Dr. Ekow Spio Garbrah and how it has grown to become the major source of funding pushing education in Ghana.
According to him, he has on countless occasions call on the current government to hold consultative or stakeholders meeting to faction out how best and efficient to implement the free SHS but they have not heeded his call.
"Within the next 90 days after I take office as the President of Ghana, I will call for the arrangement of a very broad stakeholder and consultative meeting on the way forward for a better free SHS", he said.