Amend Pre-Tertiary Education Bill to take care of all interests – GNAPS

The president of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS), Dr Damasus Tuurusong, has appealed to Parliament to consider amending the new Pre tertiary Education Bill to take interests of private, public and faith- based institutions.

The President noted that although the move by the government to pass the bill was commendable, the bill would be limited in its efficiency if certain portions were not amended to serve the interest of all stakeholders.

He mentioned for instance, that the elimination of representatives of GNAPS from the governing body of the Ghana Education Service, GES as according to section (9) of the bill was a source of concern to the GNAPS and would want the government to consider the old system where they were represented in order to ensure quality decision making.

Dr Tuurusong stated this during the climax of the GNAPS week celebration in Wa last Saturday held on the theme, ‘The new Pre-Tertiary Education Bill, private schools in perspective’.

 The GNAPS week commemorated each year is used to throw the spotlight on challenges and prospects for private school education in Ghana. It focused on discussing into details the pretertiary bill that was laid before parliament last year.

The objective of the Bill is to provide for a decentralised pre-tertiary education system that will produce individuals with the requisite knowledge, skills and values, to become productive citizens for national development as well as establish a technical and vocational education and training service, among others.

“Since independence, Ghana has experienced a chequered regulatory framework for education. This erratic formulation and implementation of education policies has sunk the country to the bottom of the world’s league of education. Therefore, as a major stakeholder in Ghana’s educational system, GNAPS was elated at the formulation of a new education bill. However, the lingering question is: Will the Pre-Tertiary Education Bill, 2019 stem the fluctuating fortunes of education in the country? he inquired.

He explained that GNAPS raised qualms about a provision in Section 59 of the Bill on tax exemption and indicated that the association would appreciate it if that clause was captured in a way that would make tax exemption mandatory instead of discretionary for whichever government was in power.

“GNAPS looks forward to the implementation of Section 60 of the Bill which calls for the improvement and strengthening of relations between the Ministry of Education and private schools through their involvement in free and open education programmes. Over the years, private schools have to a large extent been excluded from most cultural, educational and sporting competitions sponsored by the Ministry and under the auspices of GES,” he stated.

Dr Tuurusong also used the opportunity to appeal to the West African Examination Council through the GES to reduce the cost of registration for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) paid by students from private institutions, saying some parents were unable to pay them.

He also called on the government to offer equal opportunities to students from private and public institutions  to access tertiary education, by placing them into senior high schools based on merit and not on their educational background.

FROM LYDIA DARLINGTON FORDJOUR, WA

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