COVID 19: Private schools fear eminent collapse
The Ghana National Association of Private Schools, the umbrella body of all private -tertiary institutions in Ghana is appealing to government to save the sector from eminent collapse.
The President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo on 16th March 2020, announced the closure of all schools as a means of combating the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Private schools across the country have since complied with the directive. Unfortunately, the measure which was announced to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus has negatively impacted the private sector educational institutions. Western Region Zonal Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Private Schools Mr. Charles Mintaba tells Skyy news, many private schools had not fully retrieved their school fees before the closure was announced. The development has therefore caught many managers of private schools into dire financial consequences. The association is therefore appealing for a financial Bailout for Collapsing Schools. The want government to announce a bailout package for struggling private schools to enable them survive these trying times.
“Now, private schools are in dire straits! Not only are they unable to pay their employees’ salaries, many cannot make statutory payments in respect of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE). It is further anticipated that financial institutions would soon come after some school owners who, prior to the school lockdown, accessed credit facilities to provide school infrastructure or educational materials. If the lockdown persists beyond one month, many proprietors would be compelled to lay off their staff, estimated at over 500,000 across Ghana, and shut down schools completely. One shudders to imagine the consequences of worker layoffs and collapsed schools on unemployment and economic growth,” he indicated
The association further indicated that, to prevent an inevitable downturn in the private education sector, they are appealing to the president appeal to breathe some financial oxygen into private education to resuscitate our schools.
“That a bailout package be announced for struggling private schools to enable them survive these trying times. The package could be in the form of interest-free loans, grants or some other financial support that will enable schools to pay salaries of their workers and cater for other urgent running costs. To prevent private schools from going down and under, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) could prevail upon financial institutions to suspend loan repayment until schools reopen for academic work, or restructure such loans recovery by giving schools easier terms of repayment. We further appeal to Your Excellency to make private schools beneficiaries of the intended rollout of distance learning programmes for public schools. This would enable private school learners to continue accessing knowledge and information in the comfort of their homes rather than idling at home with the possibility of some falling into harm’s way,” Mr. Charlse Mintaba indicated.