The start of the 2017/18 academic year has seen anxious parents and their wards flood public high schools nationwide to confirm placement in the schools, but indications are that private high schools are seeing little to no activity.
Citi News‘ visit to one of the notable private high schools in Kumasi, the Mighty Royal Senior High School, showed that it has received fewer first-year students for this academic year.
The head teacher of the school, Mohammed Nurudeen, told Citi News that the possible negative effects on private schools were not considered before the implementation of the free SHS policy.
“I am saying this because a government which has promised to revamp the private sector, in the course of rolling this programme, they should have considered the private schools; as in posting some of the students to the private school.”
He suggested further that, “if nothing at all, the government can subsidize the fees or pay and absorb all the fees because they are all Ghanaian children and we are all Ghanaians.”
Mohammed Nurudeen said the situation was “very bad” because “gone are the days where you will see parents trooping in and bringing in their wards to seek admission.”
He noted that in the past, his school normally did not have problems with admission “but as we speak, the numbers that we get this time around we are not getting these numbers because of the free SHS.”
Mohammed Nurudeen thus described the policy “as one of the ways killing the private sector.”
The government has officially launched the free SHS policy which will see about 400,000 students getting enrollment into public senior high schools across the country.
The government will among other things pay for tuition, feeding, school uniforms, library and textbook fees for students.
Concerns from Tamale
These concerns echo that of owners of private high schools in Tamale, which appealed to the government to outsource the Free SHS placement to them to sustain the private schools.
The Proprietor of City Senior High School at Target, Musah Sulemana, on behalf of his colleagues also noted that, their biggest problem “is getting fresh students and we are appealing to the government to address our concerns… schools have reopened and the private senior schools we are not getting students in terms of admissions.”
He expressed fears that private schools may have to fold up.