The GES “Patapaa” attempts to takeover Achimota Preparatory School continues to baffle many well-meaning Ghanaians. Ghanaians would expect government through the GES to build new schools if the government aims at increasing access to public school education within the Achimota Preparatory school environs rather than try to take over a private school and make it public.
A forced take over could lead to serious challenges for the GES, affect the school’s over 700 pupils, parents as well as the livelihoods of over 50 employees in the school. The GES has given the school authorities a letter indicating it is taking over the school effective Monday, 27th January 2020.
The current government had suggested that public basic schools may be given to private individuals and institutions to manage in 2019. Four teacher unions are demanded that the government stopped the Ghana Partnerships Schools project which will select some public schools for privatization. The question is why is the government now taking over Achimota Preparatory School?
Public basics schools in Ghana are bedeviled with numerous challenges, why does the GES want to reduce the Achimota Preparatory School to that level. Government, the GES and the MoE must be guided and have strategic goals for public basic schools and transform these poorly managed schools into model schools that can compete with private schools rather than taking over private schools.
We all know that inadequate funding is a headache for the government, and the government cannot even fund the common end of term examinations of public JHS. In some cases, lack of educational resources, inefficient teacher management, and support systems, and governance and accountability challenges in public basic schools make them dysfunctional. Is this what the GES intends to bring to Achimota Preparatory School?
A National Education Strategic Plan put in place by the MoE for the period 2018 to 2030 was to among other things improve school management, supervision, monitoring, and accountability. This has not been achieved yet. Many public basic schools are struggling with this but private schools are better managed in many instances.
Key stakeholders in the school have indicated that the Accra Regional Director of Education has “resorted to concocting reasons to seize APS into government fold.” According to them, the act is discriminatory as the reasons given are unfounded according to the parents and teachers of the school.
Is Ghana Education Service on the verge of taking over private schools where the government has not invested a penny and convert them to public schools?
The Ghana Education Service and the Greater Accra regional director must watch their steps and act within the confines of the law. In a live interview of some teachers by Atinka TV on Saturday, the teachers indicated that the school was sued in court some 11 years ago by the Achimota SHS over the land on which the school is located. They, however, argued that the land does not belong to the Achimota School but the Osu people. There is suspicion that this new development could be traced to that case.
It is evidently clear that private schools are better managed by their owners compared to public schools. The Achimota Preparatory school was set up and managed by private persons with a school board and management in place. All assets and infrastructures of the school are the toils of private persons.
A takeover by GES would more likely amount to fallen standards, inefficiencies, and ineffectiveness. School children are already traumatized and teachers are on the verge of losing their jobs.
This is one singular decision of the GES that will surely make the government unpopular. Is it the responsibility of directors of education in the 16 regions to be seizing and capturing private schools? If so, what are the standard reasons and issues that a school must meet to be a target for government take over.
What are the modalities in place for such processes and has the GES being efficient in managing public basic schools under its control across Accra?