The government has been urged to involve private schools in educational reforms especially the implementation of the free Senior High School (SHS) programme.
According to Reverend James Amanquah, founder of Action Progressive Institute –Ghana, aside quality learning outcomes, they were avenues for revenue mobilisation through taxes and job creation.
He averred that the neglect of private schools in the free SHS was not only affecting them but denying the government of resources, saying “We must be seen as atools for social change but not enemies of the government”.
The educationist was speaking at the Ghana Private Schools Heroes of Distinction Conference / Awards organised in Accra yesterday by the West Africa International (WAI) Press Limited, to honour deserving private schools.
Rev Amanquah said the more than 20,000 private schools nationwide could employ over a million people to reduce the wage bill on the government while taxes worth millions of cedis could be raked in for other projects.
Aside the economic contribution, he averred that private schools were providing access to education in deprived areas where they also provided social amenities.
Despite the fact that majority of teachers in such schools were not trained teachers, he said their students performed better than their counterparts in the public schools for which reason they should partners in education.
Instead of the double track system , he said some students could be posted to the private schools which had the capacity so save the government the current challenge.
Rev Amanquah implored the government to reconsider its strained relations with the private schools else it could suffer political consequences should their calls continue to fall on deaf ears.
The Executive Director of WAI , Dr Dee Otibu-Asare said the awards was in line with its objective of honouring organisations and persons who had played instrumental roles in diverse sectors with this year’s focus on private schools.
Private schools, he said, had over the years helped the government handle the increase in demand for education thus it should be possible for the collaboration to continue.
“The current free SHS arrangement does not favour the private schools. I urge the government to reconsider its relationship with them for the overall development of education”, he said.
A total of 12 private schools and 10 educationists were honoured.
The schools were Great Lamptey Mills Schools; Young Executives School, St. Peter’s Mission School, Virtue International School, Peculiar International School and North Hills International School.
Others were Good Shepherd International School, Graceland International School, Scholars International School, Action Progressive Institute, Liberty Preparatory School and Royal Majesty College.
Mrs Naomi Asemani, the proprietor of Peculiar International School was adjudged the most outstanding educationist for the year while Francis Essel Okyeahene was honoured as a grand Patron of private education.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR