Stopping private basic school owners from profiteering and exploiting parents

Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie

Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie

It is uncommon to hear teachers criticise owners of private schools for charging exorbitant school fees.  It is also rare to hear them condemn school proprietors for profiteering and exploiting parents.

 

But this is exactly what the teachers, under the umbrella of Coalition of Teacher Union did, raising the red flag on commercial and profiteering by educational entrepreneurs.

 

According to them, the ever-growing practice exploits the meagre resources of parents in semi-urban areas which contravenes the positions of the 1992 Constitution, which says that “education at the basic level shall be free and compulsory”.

 

The Teacher Unions comprising the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Teachers and Education Workers Union (TEWU) and the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), were unanimous in their view that schools present themselves as supporting the poor but it has become a conduit for profit-making off the poor.

 

The view of the teachers which were contained in a study conducted within two and half-year period from 2015, with support of Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, Ghana and Education International, revealed what is already known to many Ghanaians.

 

It is no secret that many parents have enrolled their children in private basic schools and are paying fees for more than what is charged in public basic schools.

 

The argument here is that, it is a matter of choice and parents are free to chose the schools they want for their children.

 

Again, it is argued that private basic schools provide solid foundation for children which is lacking in public schools.

 

There might be some merit in these arguments but there are counter arguments against the private basic schools which is the conduit for profit-making off the poor and the alienation of school children from their cultural roots.

 

In some communities, the private basic schools have been accused of compromising quality of education by employing the services of untrained teachers.

 

Indeed, these are very legitimate observations which must be carefully interrogated with the view of finding solutions to them.

 

As a matter of fact many parents the Ghanaian Times spoke to on this subject, expressed grave concern over the high school fees.

 

We share in the concerns of the teachers and the parents and urge the government, the Ghana Education Service and all stakeholders to take steps to stop the high cost of education at the basic level.

 

The Teacher Unions have raise the red flag, parents are complaining and we are urging the government to take the necessary steps to halt the profiteering and exploitation now before it gets out of hand.

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