The leadership of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools, GNAPS, says it is challenging the government’s 30% of slots in ‘Grade A’ Senior High Schools, reserved for students in public Junior High Schools, in court.
According to GNAPS, the move has deprived many students of private Junior High Schools placement in Senior High Schools.
The government had earlier indicated that the Free SHS programme aims to ensure equity and that would be achieved by reserving 30% of places in Category A Senior High Schools for students from public basic schools who have performed creditably at the BECE.
Speaking at the launch of a week-long event in Kumasi, President of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools, Dr. Damascus Tuurusong said the move is discriminatory and further breaches the country’s Education Act. He stressed that seeking redress in court was the last option after failed attempts by the government to reverse the decision.
“We’ve used many avenues of trying to persuade the government and policymakers to do away with this discriminatory policy of 30% priority placement to category ‘A’ schools for public junior high schools. It’s reached a level where we indeed need to test the law and see how we can get the issue addressed.
“Every student entering senior high school wants the best. So, when they go to a private school, their chances of entering a category ‘A’ school are reduced. So, when they get to the early years of junior high school, they leave the private schools and go to the public. These students because of their grooming from the private schools they come out as the best and get placed in the best senior high schools,” he said.
In March 2021, the Conference of Directors of Private Pre-Tertiary Schools- Ghana (CODPPTS), also expressed similar concerns, describing the move as “unconstitutional”.
The Conference said the decision infringed on Article 25 (1) of the 1992 Constitution which provided that, “all persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities and with a view of achieving the full realization of that right.
“The policy discriminates against Ghanaian children in private schools. It is ironical that public schools that have a higher percentage of qualified teachers would rather perform abysmally and the system rather used to favour those who should have performed better through the 30 per cent quota.
“We recommend that adequate resources with effective monitoring and supervision be pursued by the Ministry of Education and the GES to bridge the knowledge gab between public and private schools rather than the discriminatory approach,” a statement issued by the conference and signed by its President, Mr Philip Boateng Mensah said.
It called on the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Adutwum to initiate steps to make the schools where candidates sat the BECE mandatory to validate the school placement/enrolment form.
“As the situation stands now, the schools or the clergy’s signature validates the school placement/enrolment form.
“However, where the candidates have not settled their outstanding bills but can easily have a clergy to endorse the form, they (candidates) go away without settling their indebtedness. This is not good for the financial health of the private schools,” it said.
It said it was of the firm belief that, the minister would take keen interest in the issues raised and address them to create the enabling environment for private pre-tertiary school operators to work.
“We have no doubt that under the leadership of Dr. Adutwum, the Ministry of Education will see more pragmatic innovations to continue to improve and sustain quality teaching and learning in our schools,” it had said.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH