Private basic school operators in Ashaiman have expressed concerns over the persistent decline in pupils’ enrollment, attributing it to economic hardships.

Despite the perception that private schools offer better-quality basic education compared to their public counterparts, many families are now relying on public schools due to the high fees charged by private institutions.

This shift, the Ghana News Agency (GNA) gathered, was largely driven by parents’ inability to afford tuition and school resource fees.

Some private schools, such as the Prince Kpone-Katamansu School (Prince KKD), have responded by collaborating with the government, converting upper primary levels into public schools while maintaining lower levels as private to stay in business.

Checks at the Hector School Complex, Born-to-Win School, Richester International School, and Imam Mahdi Educational Complex in the Kpone-Katamansu municipality by the GNA revealed that many private basic schools are struggling to stay afloat.

These schools fre
quently organise promotional floats at the beginning of each term to attract parents to enrol their children in the schools.

Mr Bless Kumorgi, a headteacher at Hector School Complex, stated that to ensure that parents did not withdraw their children from the school, they had put in efforts to reduce fees and provide some textbooks.

Mr Kumorgi added, however, that these measures had not significantly curbed the trend of pupils being transferred to public schools.

Mr Kumorgi said the trend was also affecting their income as they relied largely on extra class fees to support their meagre monthly pay.

At Hector School Complex, teachers who teach more than one subject receive a monthly salary of GHS350, while those with less experience receive GHs300, and an additional GHS70 every Friday from study fees collected over the week, which is shared among all staff. 

A similar situation exists in other schools, where extra classes are organised for the upper primary, extending their closing time from 1500 hours to
1600 hours, at a fee of GHS1 per pupil.

Mr Abass Yakubu, a primary four teacher at Imam Mahdi School Complex, shared a similar experience, stating that school operators rely on the number of pupils to pay salaries and improve infrastructure. 

He said one of the reasons for the numbers dwindling from upper primary to JHS is the amount paid for BECE registration by the private schools, as those in the public schools are registered for the exams at no cost. 

‘Moreover, the government’s Free Senior High School flagship programme makes enrolment in first and second choices more accessible for public school students, even if private school students may have better grades. Parents prefer the private school due to the quality of tuition and attention to grooming their wards, but the economic situation is not allowing that,’ he asserted.

Public schools often suffer from overcrowding and inadequate infrastructure, which impacts the quality of education. This was observed during a GNA’s visit to the Zenu Kpone-Katam
ansu Cluster of Schools, where some classrooms were found abandoned due to their unfit nature, compelling pupils to merge into a shift system.

Madam Aisha Yakubu, a trader who has withdrawn her children from the private school, narrated that she used to spend over GHS80 daily on feeding, transportation, and tuition for her four children attending the private school, adding that because she could not afford the school bus fee, they walked to cover some of the distance.

She said, ‘Now, my children attend the public Kpone-Katamansu Municipal Assembly School, paying GHS3 as fees for the child in JHS and GHS2 each for the three in lower primary. And those at the lower primary level are provided a free lunch.’

Source: Ghana News Agency

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