Free SHS: Government will benefit from including private schools – Mahama Ayariga

MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, believes government stands to gain from a collaboration with private Senior High Schools, as part of the implementation of the Free SHS policy.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, he echoed the suggestion that students could be given stipends to attend private senior high schools, as private head teachers have proposed.

Mr. Ayariga said there was a very strong economic and policy consideration for the argument that the private schools are making, in line with promoting competition between public schools and private schools.

Private schools fear they could be out of business as the lure of free education has given public schools a form of monopoly over the secondary education sector.

Enrollment into the private schools has dropped significantly, prompting the Conference of Heads of Private Second Cycle Schools, to call on the government to expand the coverage of the free SHS policy to include private schools to save them from possible collapse.

Mr. Ayariga said considering this plea could kill two birds with one stone for the government as it would be encouraging the private sector, whilst lessening the government’s burden to provide more education infrastructure.

“…If you encourage the private sector and they invest in the infrastructure, the new government only gets to pay stipends to students who will be paying gradually over a period of time for the private investor to recoup their investment, whiles the State will be relieved of immediately investing in both infrastructure and managing the personnel,” the MP explained.

Roping in the private schools could also keep the public schools in check, standards-wise, Mr. Ayariga said, because “you want to create a competitive environment that will make the public schools work hard otherwise students will pick their grants and go to private schools.”

“As it is now, public schools are enjoying a total monopoly of state resources and they don’t have that incentive to work to attract funding because the funding is automatic,” he added.

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