Education Unions in the pre-tertiary sector have reiterated their resistance to the Ghana Partnership Schools (GPS) project that the government plans to pilot in September.
They insist that the project, which would have about 100 basic schools handed over to private managers, was not the solution to improving learning outcomes, claiming that would rather complicate matters.
Mr Samuel Dadzie, General Secretary of the National Graduate Teachers Association (NAGRAT) said the government should channel its efforts and funds into firming up the already existing structure.
“[The unions] are disappointed that a policy that will have major impact on education will be developed and finalised without their involvement. We see this disregard for social dialogue as a strategic avoidance by the Ministry of Education to push through an anti-teacher policy,” he said.
Mr Dadzie was delivering a presentation titled: ‘The Ghana partnership schools and concerns of education sector unions’ on behalf of the unions, including the NAGRAT, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Tertiary Education Workers Union (TEWU) and Concerned Teachers Union (CTU) in Accra last Friday.
The presentation was part of the launch of a study on Private Public Partnership (PPP) regime, sponsored by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), a German political non-for-profit organisation.
The GPS is a contract management PPP where schools are owned and funded by the government but managed by private entities.
The Education Ministry has resolved to improve education outcomes at the basic level due to weak accountability in management at the level, using the GPSP as a strategy to achieve better outcomes.
But according to Mr Dadzie, this was an attempt by the government to ‘commercialise’ public education since the private managers would be rewarded based on pre-determined outcomes with a credit facility of 45million dollars out of the 69.4million dollars budgeted for the project.
He said the project would replace professional teachers with ‘non-professional’ school managers, an arrangement that would have a negative impact on school management.
Additionally, he said it was contrary to the Education Ministry’s own efforts to improve professionalism in the sector through the introduction of programmes such as the teacher licensure examination and pre-tertiary teacher professional development and management policy.
He urged the government to learn from failed implementation of similar projects on the continent, adding that the system that fostered the seeming success of the programme in Liberia was different from Ghana.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR