President Nana Akufo-Addo has disclosed that the government, through the Ministry of Education, is planning a relief package for private schools whose finances have been affected by the coronavirus-induced school shutdowns.
“We have been able to find some way for small, medium enterprises by supporting them with a relief package. I think we should also look at how to support private schools, too. We know the critical role they play in our education sector,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo said the Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, and his team will look at the matter and find a way to provide some support to private schools.
The President in March this year directed schools, both private and public, to shut down when the country recorded its first two cases of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Though government has allowed the partial reopening of secondary and tertiary schools, the President, in his 16th address to the nation, announced that pre-secondary schools will remain closed until January 2021.
The Coalition of Private School Teachers kicked against this decision by the government, complaining that it would deprive them of their livelihoods as some school owners have already laid off staff while others have stopped paying salaries to their teachers.
Meanwhile, final year Senior High School (SHS) students have completed their West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) across the country, while their junior counterparts at the basic level are yet to begin their Basic Education Examination Certificate (BECE).
Government, as part of efforts to support these candidates at basic level, directed the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to provide one hot meal a day for both public and private final year JHS students and their teachers.
About 584,000 students who returned to school on June 29 to prepare for the BECE are benefitting from the intervention, in addition to 146,000 school staff, for a period of 20 school days, starting from August 24 to September 18. In all, there are about 730,000 beneficiaries of the intervention.
The intervention has brought relief to caterers who provide school meals for public basic schools under the Ghana School Feeding Programme since their work was suspended following the closure of all schools in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.