Ghana: It Should Be Possible to Integrate Private SHS in Free Shs Implementation

12 December 2019

Since its introduction in 2017, the free Senior High School (SHS) programme has been a game changer in education in the country despite accommodation challenges which the government has signalled that it is resolving.

It has expanded access to education with more than one million beneficiaries some of whom would not had seen the interior of secondary school should the programme had not been implemented.

However, the game change has not been a positive one for private SHS in the country since majority of their prospective students have been absorbed by the public schools.

Their once busy campuses have almost become ghost towns with some closed down out of frustration and debts- the glory of some popular private SHS in the country has faded away.

And so for the last two years, owners of private schools have been calling on the government to integrate them in the programme so save their businesses and also contribute to the development of education.

They have cited quality education outcomes and adequate facilities amongst others as the advantages they bring to the table should they partner the government but no to end.

The latest to join the calls is Reverend James Amanquah, founder of Action Progressive Institute -Ghana, who argues that the neglect of the private sector is not only a disadvantage for them but also the government.

He explains that the government was missing out on the opportunity to rake in millions of cedis in taxes from the schools through staff taxes and other they were required to pay.

At the Ghana Private Schools Heroes of Distinction Conference / Awards organised in Accra yesterday he said the 20,000 private schools nationwide could employ one million teachers and reduce unemployment rate and reduce the wage bill.

We are aware of the role private school at all levels have played in the country over the years.

It is common knowledge that the private schools produce some of the best students and professionals due to the investment that goes into their academic work in terms of infrastructure and school fees.

At the same time concerns raised against them by the government including the untrained teachers they employ, is one that could not be overlooked. The fact that it had produced results does not been it is the ideal way.

We at the Ghanaian times see two sides which could complement themselves to improve education in the country; government with the trained teachers and private schools with their vast infrastructure.

We therefore call for collaboration between the public and private sector especially in the implementation of the free SHS programme like they have done over the years.

The private sector must not be seen as the enemy but a partner in development. It should be possible to fashion out a plan that would address the concerns of each party.

After all, when the glory comes, it is the government that would be hailed.

We must not let the private schools die. They must be used as tools for social change.

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