The General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), David Ofori Acheampong, says they won’t back down on their fight against plans by government to hand over the administration of public basic schools to private individuals in the country through the Ghana Partnership Schools (GPS) Project.
Teacher unions in the country have kicked against the implementation of the policy which allegedly seeks to allow private individuals to run over 100 public basic schools in the country.
Despite the disapproval from educational unions, government if unfazed saying it will still go ahead and roll out the policy to improve the standards of education in the country.
Speaking on Eyewitness News , however, David Ofori Acheampong said nothing will stop the teacher unions from compelling government to rescind its decision to safeguard the interest of teachers and students.
“We are in the process of explaining the whole thing to our members and they will buy into it. And when they‘ve bought into it, we are prepared to go a long haul to ensure that this policy is not implemented. We cannot sit down and allow this thing to happen because our jobs are on the line.
They talk of professionalism, NTC talks about licensure and you tell us that, we as professionals who have studied school management should sit aside for someone to come and manage our schools.”
He also wants government to focus on systematic ways to address the challenges facing public basic schools in the country rather than investing huge sums of money into the policy.
“The problem with us is that, we don’t have adequate physical resources for our schools; the infrastructure is poor. So if we are able to pump money why don’t we improve it than giving it to a private person and tell us that we are not capable of running the schools, while we have been doing it over the years.
There are things inimical to our quality education delivery; this is what we need to take loans to improve. Not taking loans to give to people who will come as managers and are paid out of that resources and the Ghanaian people will pay that loan on behalf of those people who have already enjoyed. That is what we cannot accept.”
Teacher unions have no right to resist GPS policy – Casely-Hayford
Social commentator Sidney Casely-Hayford had earlier said the teacher unions’ contentions with the Ghana Partnership Schools (GPS) initiative are unjustified.
He suggested that the unions are more
concerned with their egos after the apparent lack of consultation from the government on the policy.
Mr. Casely-Hayford insisted that “the unions should not be resistant to this because managing a school doesn’t mean you are disbanding a union.”
“The unions have no right to object to what is being done because it doesn’t affect them in any way. It doesn’t disband them. It doesn’t stop them from being a union. It doesn’t stop them from fighting for the rights of their members.
They are only objecting because they were not consulted. So it’s got nothing to do with the concept. It’s just got to do with their egos.”
He did admit that the concern with the policy was a communication problem from the government saying “the Ministry of Education has not been able to clarify exactly what they are trying to do and that is where the problem lies.”
Privatization of basic schools will fail – Coalition
The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) believes that the Ghana Partnership Schools Project which seeks to privatize basic schools on a pilot basis will fail.
The group said it has evidence to show that the policy will impact negatively on education and thus wants the government to scrap the project
which is expected to be rolled out this September.
Chairman of the GNECC, Kofi Asare has said that one of the many ways by which government can improve performance at the basic level, is to ensure prompt payment of capitation grants and allow the Education Bill to function adequately.
“We will engage the Ministry. I do not think they will go ahead and implement this policy because if they go ahead, we will end up like Kenya ended, we will end up like Uganda ended, we will end up like Liberia ended and we will end up like Pakistan. I think with the evidence we have of the failures associated with such an approach in ensuring quality learning outcomes , we will be able to convince the Education Ministry to change its approach.”
Prove public schools privatisation claim or apologise – Gov’t to GNEEC
The Ministry of Education had earlier challenged the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNEEC) to provide evidence to back its claims of privatisation of pre-tertiary education or retract and render an unqualified apology.
The ministry stated that at a meeting with GNEEC in 2018, the discussions were on partnership and not privatisation.
Director of Communication at the Education Ministry, Ekow Vincent Assafuah explained that government has never contemplated privatisation of schools.
Ghana Partnership Schools Project
Ghana Partnership Schools (GPS) Project is about non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with the requisite capacity and resources to partner with government.
GPS Project is intended to give selected public basic schools which are supposed to be basically under-performing a strong managerial support from private operator(s) to manage these selected schools (total of 100 deprived schools in four regions: Ashanti, Northern, Central and Greater Accra).