Are our governments killing public education for privatization?

Ghanas 2021 National Standardized Test Date Disclosed By Education Minister File photo

Thu, 17 Nov 2022 Source: Joe Kingsley Eyiah

Of late the ‘unfavourable wind’ blowing in the sector of public education in both Ghana and Ontario makes one wonders whether our governments are taking the quality of public education seriously.

In Ontario for instance ‘private tutoring is booming, and centres have been busy fielding phone calls since the start of the school year as kids struggle to catch up in a system pummelled by the pandemic,’ reports Isabel Teotonio of the Toronto Star.

It is obvious that parents are grateful for the support. However, some worry that diverting millions from classrooms to tutors will only exacerbate inequities among students.

Also, the education support workers CUPE in the Ontario Province is struggling with the government to put more money into early education and special needs for students to improve the quality of education in public schools.

Their negotiations with the government have hit the rocks and their eminent strike action by CUPE that would lead to the closure of public schools for in-person learning for students in the public education sector again. Very unfortunate! Does the Ontario government really care about public schools?

In Ghana, the NPP government led by Nana Addo though has instituted free secondary education for students in public schools, heads of secondary schools have had to struggle to feed students at their schools due to insufficient funds from the government. Students in public schools have had to struggle with mental health due to inadequate feeding.

Also, teacher unions in the country have come together to call for strike action which is affecting public schools in Ghana due to the government’s action of appointing a ‘banker’, according to the unions, as the Director General of Education in the country.

Public schools lack sufficient teaching support and learning resources to improve the quality of education being offered at such schools. Well-to-do parents who can offer are putting their children in private schools.

Governments are paying lip service to public education in order to win votes during elections but the big question is: isn’t the quality of public education being sacrificed at the altar of privatization by our governments?

We need, as parents and educators, to wake up from our political slumber and question our governments on their attitudes towards public schools for the sake of our children who are not in private schools. The time is now!

Columnist: Joe Kingsley Eyiah