The huge gap in the standard of education between the public and private basic schools has been attributed to poor and ineffective policies introduced by governments over the years.
An executive member of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr. Samuel Dadzie, who made this observation, said the various governments had failed to build the right structures to develop education at the public basic level.
He said public schools lacked basic infrastructure, amenities, and materials necessary to facilitate teaching and learning.
Mr. Dadzie said that aside, no clear policies had been implemented to motivate teachers in public schools to deliver their best, although public basic schools had the best teachers compared to private schools.
He noted that the public had lost confidence in public schools and were patronising private schools, which charged very exorbitant fees.
“The public basic schools have been reserved for the very poor in society because they are not performing. Their poor performance is not because they lacked teachers, but because of the absence of proper policies to motivate the teachers and build the right infrastructure at the schools to enable them teach.”
“Middle and high income earners are taking their children out of public schools to private schools because they believe the public schools lack the quality they want for their children,” Mr. Dadzie said.
He lamented that business operators had taken advantage of the situation and had established private schools to attract low income earners without delivering the required standard.
He said low income earners who could not afford the top-notch private schools were taking their children to other private schools, which charged slightly lower fees, but delivered low standard education.
Mr. Dadzie indicated that private schools were established to complement government’s effort of providing universal access to basic education, but the public schools, now appeared to be complementing private schools because most parents preferred private schools to public schools due to the perceived gap in the quality of education between both schools.
“It is about time we reversed this situation”, he said, and noted that quality education should not be compromised with commercialisation and privatisation of education.
Mr. Dadzie asked government to address the problem by first motivating teachers at basic schools and organising refresher courses for them to improve their skills.
“Quality in education begins with quality teachers. Teachers should be well trained and motivated to deliver their best,” he said, and urged government to provide the right infrastructure to facilitate teaching and learning in public schools.
Mr. Dadzie said teaching and learning materials should be made available in all public schools at all times to facilitate academic work.
He urged the government to increase its budget allocation to the education sector, because the future of the country depended on education.
By Yaw Kyei