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General News of Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Source: GNA

Teacher Unions call for the regulation of private schools

Teacher Unions in the country have appealed to government to address without delay the inadequate funding of public basic schools, to reverse the poor quality of education in the country.

The Unions say Government must increase investment in infrastructure development in public schools, especially at the basic level to make it as attractive as the private schools.

Mr. Samuel Frank Dadzie, Head of Research, National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), speaking at a workshop of the Teachers Union on Commercialization of Education in Ghana, said the expansion of private schools was due to low investment by government in public education.

He said more than 60 per cent of public schools have no laboratories, running water, amongst others. He said the education unions demand an increase in investment in teacher education including continuous professional development.

Mr. Dadzie therefore called on Government to pass laws that would limit the continued expansion of private schools.

He said the growing commercialization and privatization of education has received endorsement from some development partners.

He alleged that Omega school franchise in the country is an example of the trend, which is a chain of ‘low-fee’ private school targeting poorest families.

He said these schools that promise to help the poor by increasing access, actually use the principle of ‘low margin high-volume’ to exploit the poor.

“The chain has grown to over a number of schools delivering schooling to number students across the country; they claim that their model is affordable ‘pay-as-you-learn’, and is equivalent to out-of-pocket cost of sending to a ‘free’ government school.

“The importance of quality teaching for quality education cannot be underestimated, yet evidence from low-free private school’s points to an increase in part time hiring, proliferation of contractual employment, a rise in the number of untrained staff”, he said.

Mr Dadzie said the alleged Omega’s operation was driven by profit motive and the expansion of the school was a manifestation of the growing commercialization and privatization of education in Ghana and it is a threat to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015.

He said education is a public service hence commercialization and privatization makes it a commodity and students customers.

He called on civil society organizations and the teacher unions to campaign for for-profit, low-free private schools.

He charged Government to implement and enforce a legislative framework to ensure the achievement of quality education in the country.