Data from the Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS) show that a total of 126 private schools in the country have collapsed as of Monday, January 4, 2021, due to the challenges brought on by the ravaging impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The pandemic among other things has left many of the schools in a state of financial difficulties, bankruptcy and insolvency making it difficult for many of these schools to operate as the nationwide resumption of school activities approach.
The Council has also identified the failure of regulatory agencies such as the National Inspectorate Board (NIB), Social Security Insurance and National Trust (SSNIT) and Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to ensure flexible terms of cooperation during their hard times.
In a statement, the Greater Accra Region topped the list with 16 collapsed schools. It was followed by the Northern Region where 13 schools have become non-operational.
The Ashanti Region came third with 11 closed schools.
GNACOPS says the closure of these educational facilities means an average 37,800 students have been affected due to the unfortunate development.
An average of 2,394 teachers have also become redundant as a result, the GNACOPS reported noted.
In an interview with citinewsroom.com, National Executive Director of GNACOPS, Enoch Kwasi Gyetuah decried the tough moment being faced by its members.
“Most of the schools have sacked teachers during lockdown because SSNIT took them to court over contributions, so they had to sack the teachers to be safe. GRA threatened the schools with closure; they had to go to their offices and plead. The NIB which regulates both public and private schools want to police the schools rather than the sustenance measures – checking the schools for standards and registration other than sustenance. Out of frustration, most schools sat on bank loans, sell off school properties, change infrastructure to rentals,” he lamented.
The outbreak of COVID-19 in Ghana, which led to the closing down of schools and businesses, elicited the rolling out of some social interventions by the government.
One of such interventions was the disbursement of stimulus packages for micro, small and medium enterprises that had been hit hard by the pandemic across the country.
Schools that were not exempted from the categorization done applied to benefit from the package.
However, the Ghana National Council of Private Schools has raised concerns over the procedure required of them in order to benefit from the intervention.