Tuesday, 11 August

COVID-19: 6,000 private schools apply for gov't stimulus package

Education
Director of International Relations/Business Corporation of the Council, Steve Revss

The Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS) has released a list of some 6,000 private schools in Ghana that have applied for a stimulus package from the government of Ghana in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic which compelled President Nana Akufo-Addo to close down all schools since mid-March.

The Director of International Relations/Business Corporation of the Council, Mr. Steve Revss, confirmed that, as part of measures taken to present credible information of schools to the state and other international donor organisations, with which he is currently negotiating, the council has engaged the services of state agencies to verify any and every bit of information that the various schools have sent to the private schools' council.

"We have received over 6,000 applications from schools whose desire is to access part of the Government's stimulus package/financial support and it is within our mandate to probe further to ascertain the authenticity of provided information presented to the Council so that Government will be in good position to approve every school that meets the requirements of a school in good standing", Mr Revss said.

He said the government is “ready to support schools in this trying times but there is a need, also, to position ourselves as recognised private educational institutions and reliable stakeholders in order to benefit from the national cake”.

In addition, he said that the released list “covers those who have successfully submitted their information through the council's portal and have been filtered through government agencies such as the Ghana Revenue Authority (Tin Numbers authenticated) and the Register General's Department (Company Registration Details)” as well as details of their location (with real-time GPS), bank details and the total amount needed as loan or grant provided.

He assured the private schools and the government that since the NBSSI has opened their doors for companies to apply for part of the 600 million government stimulus package, the council has also put in “more pragmatic measures by meticulously verifying all submitted information at their disposal to ensure that the collective data that would be submitted finally to the government through the NBSSI, would be correct and without blemish”.

Making reference to the council's dealings with the council's external partners, donors and international agencies, Mr Revss said they are also ready to come to the aid of private schools.

He disclosed that there are ongoing discussions with many of these organisations.

“Negotiations are far advanced and the Council is confident and quite hopeful that sufficient financial grants would be brought in to ease the burden of private schools”, he said, and advised the entire private school stakeholders to frequently use the portal(www.gnacopsgh.com/register) created for them to reach out to the Council and also inform all those who have not yet filled and submitted their information to do so immediately to avoid being late and subsequently disqualified.

In late April, some private schools, which cater to more than two million pupils and students, demanded that government give them a stimulus package to help them stay afloat amidst the economic ravages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo through Neogenics Education, a consultant, which works with over 500 private schools and 5,000 private schoolteachers in Ghana.

The private schools said they want an economic and financial stimulus or intervention for private sector basic and secondary schools in Ghana for the following reasons:

(1). 80% of private school proprietors are unable to meet the basic salaries of teachers and office staff (over 400,000).

(2). Almost all private schools are facing the challenge of retrieving arrears of fees from the previous term and payments due this third term by parents. 67% of Schools revealed that parents are unwilling to pay outstanding fees from the previous term.

(3). As a result of lockdown and school closures, many private schools (85% of private schools) have had to acquire virtual learning platforms and resources in order to continue educating the Ghanaian child through distance learning.

(4). Fresh produce purchased prior to school closures have all been left to rot.

(5). Continuous maintenance and servicing of existing credit facilities and other recurrent operational costs - (50% claim they are unable to keep up with payments).

Below were their demands:

1. Financial intervention/stimulus to support the payment of salaries of private school teachers during this lockdown and one month after re-opening.

2. Freeze SSNIT & tax payments up to three months after schools are re-opened

3. Authorise banks/creditors to grant stressed-schools payment holidays on loans and credit facilities up to three months after schools are re-opened

4. Absorb all examination fees as a relief to ease the financial burden on parents for the rest of this academic year.

“Neogenics Education believes this, to a very large extent, will show that the Ghana government recognises the enormous contribution made by private providers in education, from pre-school to the senior high school level”.

Read the full petition below:

PETITION TO HIS EXCELLENCY, NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA FOR GOVERNMENT’S INTERVENTION IN SUPPORT OF GHANA PRIVATE SCHOOLS

Over 50% of private schools in Ghana are likely to fold as a result of the adverse impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

According to the 2018 World Bank report, Private Schools constitute over 30% of education provision at the Primary School level in Ghana.

Their contribution in Ghana cannot be overstated. Evidence from Ghana’s Educational Sector Performance Report (2017) gives an indication of how important private sector education is to this country.

According to the report, Private Education contributed to the increase in enrolment at the primary from 4.1 million in 2011/12 to 4.4 million in 2017/18. One can arguably state that Private schools in Ghana contribute to over 60% of quality education delivery at the Pre-SHS level.

In spite of their immense contribution to the total Ghana education provision, a "vast majority" of private schools do not have "huge reserves'' to contain unexpected contingencies like COVID-19 and the government closures of schools.

This was confirmed in our recent survey carried out. 100% of school proprietors who completed the survey stated that they will require some form of assistance or support to keep up with payment of teachers, loans and delivering of online lessons during this school closure directed by Government.

Your Excellency, Neogenics Education, which works with over 500 private schools and 5,000 private school teachers in Ghana, will like to submit this petition to your office to urge you to consider an economic and financial stimulus or intervention for private sector basic and secondary schools in Ghana amidst the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic for the following reasons;

(1). 80% of private school proprietors are unable to meet basic salaries of teachers and office staff (over 400,000).

(2). Almost all Private schools are facing the challenge of retrieving arrears of fees from the previous term and payments due this third term by parents. 67% of Schools revealed that parents are unwilling to pay outstanding fees from the previous term.

(3). As a result of lockdown and school closures, many private schools (85% of Private Schools) have had to acquire virtual learning platforms and resources in order to continue educating the Ghanaian child through distance learning.

(4). Fresh produce purchased prior to school closures have all been left to rot.

(5). Continuous maintenance and servicing of existing credit facilities and other recurrent operational costs - (50% claim they are unable to keep up with payments).

What we request from Government;

1. Financial intervention/stimulus to support the payment of salaries of private school teachers during this lockdown and one month after re-opening.

2. Freeze SSNIT & TAX payments up to three months after schools are re-opened

3. Authorise banks/creditors to grant stressed-schools payment holidays on loans and credit facilities up to three months after schools are re-opened

4. Absorb all examination fees as a relief to ease the financial burden on parents for the rest of this academic year. Neogenics Education believes this to a very large extent will show that the Ghana government recognises the enormous contribution made by private providers in education, from Pre-school to the Senior High School level.

Failure to intervene will mean over 2 million Ghanaian children will fall behind in their progress and will be at risk of receiving low-quality education provision with a great consequence on the quality of Ghana’s future human resource. We count on your usual cooperation and most honourable response.

Yours sincerely,

Grant Bulmuo (Lead Consultant, Neogenics Education / GLOSSNET)

 

Source: Classsfmonline.com

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