Mr. Damascus Tuurosong, the Acting President of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS), has asked the Ghana Education Service (GES) to amend a section of the new Pre-Tertiary Education Bill that omitted a representative of GNAPS on the governing body of the GES.
He made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy National Organizer of GNAPS, Mr. Charles Christian Chinto, at a GNAPS Regional weeks celebration at Assin Fosu on Monday.
The theme for the celebration was: "The New Pre-Tertiary Education Bill, Private Schools in Perspective".
He added that, the GNAPS embraces the new bill and commends Government for the bold and decisive step in introducing it.
In particular, the Association applauds Government's attempt through the Bill to decentralize the pre-tertiary education system to produce individuals with the requisite knowledge, skills and values who will be functional and productive citizens for national development.
However, it is worrying that private schools, specifically, the GNAPS were not represented on the current proposed Governing Board of the Ghana Education Service (GES) and it considered this as a serious omission, which required rectification, he stressed.
"It is worth noting that leaving private schools out of the composition of the highest decision-making body of GES denies a major constituency in education the right to contribute towards the decision-making processes of the Service".
He added that the Education Service was clothed with the mandate of approving the establishment of private secondary schools and supervising their operations.
Therefore, it was only fair that private schools were represented on the Governing Board of the supervisory body that is GES to prevent the Service from focusing on only the public sector, while failing to capture the equally relevant perspectives of private operators in the sector.
He questioned that who shall speak for private schools on policy and implementation issues if GNAPS had no representative on the Council.
Mr. Tuurosong praised Government for providing tax exemption for private schools in Section 59 of the Bill, saying the Association wished the exemption was not discretionary but mandatory.
Mr. Emmanuel Collins Biney, the GNAPS Chairman of Assin Fosu, said over the years, private schools had to a large extent been treated as orphans, excluded from most cultural, educational and sporting competitions sponsored by the Ministry and organized under the auspices of GES.
He said legislating the inclusion of private schools in state-sponsored and GES organized programs, will be a step in the right direction and pleaded with the government to consider paying the registration fee for students in the private schools.
"Education in Ghana is incomplete without private schools and government should ensure that private school students had equal access to the share of the national cake, he added.