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General News Fri, 3 May 2019

Over 100 schools likely to collapse over free SHS - Private school heads

Heads of private senior high schools has indicated that about 280 Private Second Cycle institutions recognized by the Ghana Education Service and the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) which collectively enroll about 50,000 students and provide employment for 10,000 teachers is on the verge of collapse.

The Conference of Heads of Private Second Cycle Schools (CHOPSS) said the Private Senior High Schools will fold up in the next few years if the Free Senior High School programme continue.

The heads are finding it tough to deal with almost empty classrooms since the policy started.

Currently, about a third of them are on life support, barely surviving. And a number of them have completely collapsed.

"When you look at it in terms of the economics, they have estimated that both teaching and non-teaching staff, private senior high schools employ about 10,000 people across the country. Obviously, your guess is as good as mine. That means that when about half of them collapse over the next couple of years, about 5,000 jobs are gonna be lost in terms of the students. We provide access to about 70,000 children and now a bunch of the classrooms are empty. Students are struggling with the double track."

Joseph Dzamesi speaking to Accra-based Citi FM said 15 schools had given up because of low student intake and had essentially become government schools.

"…Absorbed, meaning these are headmasters who have given up. They don’t have students in their classrooms so they have given up control, facilities and everything to the government to run."

He added that the private schools are looking for a partnership, not to cede control of their schools.

"They [absorbed schools] have become government schools just like Achimota Schools or some mission schools that have been given to the government to run. So that is not what we are talking about. We are asking for partnership and they have thrown that away completely.

"We presented proposals to government and as far as I know, none of the proposals was taken," he stressed.

The Free SHS Policy, a flagship education programme of the government seeks to increase access to Secondary Education by removing the burden of paying fees from parents.

Under the policy, the government would foot all bills including feeding fees, tuition fees and all other charges.

Source: Pulse.com.gh
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