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The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has cautioned government on its moves in reference to the implementation of the Ghana Partnership Schools (GPS) Project.
The coalition described the project as subtle privatization and commercialization of the education system. It has therefore urged the government through the Minister of Education to suspend the implementation of the project to enable for broader consultation.
Chairman of GNECC, Kofi Asare, in an address to the media on Monday said that the coalition will vehemently oppose any attempt to commodify public education in the country.
According to him, GNECC after participating in the initial planning phase of Ghana Partnership Schools project, it was observed that the GPS project seeks to hand over the management of low performing public schools to private firms, and that the Ministry of education intends to reward these private firms based on the learning outcomes that they achieve in managing these schools.
“The Coalition views this as an attempt to commodify and privatize education using public funds and on this basis, we believe that the ministry of education must apply the breaks for further consultation and review their approach in implementing the project,” Kofi Asare stated.
He, explained that they are not against the project, rather, the attempts to commodify education.
“We are not against the project but we are against any attempt to commodify education. Education is not good, it is a public service for that matter we are against the practice of engaging a private person to manage public schools and agree to pay the private person based on the learning outcomes, in that case, the motive will be profit and we are against that,” he added.
A total number of 100 selected public schools in the Ashanti, Northern, Central and Greater Accra Regions are to be handed over to private school operators to manage.
According to the Coalition, a similar project has been implemented in other African countries including Liberia, Kenya and Uganda, however these projects did not produce the intended outcome, rather the gains made were very marginal in comparison to the investments that were made by governments in these countries which are even higher than the regular investments they were making in public schools.
Kofi Asare said the government cannot afford to ignore this evidence and go-ahead to invest in such a venture as this will have bad effects in the education system in the country.
The coalition also commended to the government for increasing capitation grant by over 100% since it took over governance of the country in January 2017.
“It is rather unfortunate that most public schools have not received any grant for two academic terms,” Kofi Asare said, adding that public education of high quality can only be achieved with adequate, timely funding and therefore consistently denying public schools resources for management and supervision while expecting them to produce outcomes similar to that of high-end private schools is not feasible.
The coalition has therefore charged the Ministry of Education (MoE), the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Ministry of finance to urgently tackle the problem.
Theresa Adezewa Ayittey || ghananewsonline.com.gh