A General Manager for Catholic Schools, Mrs Doris Eshun, has told participants in an educational forum that mission schools will not be exempted from the free Senior High School (SHS) policy of the government.
She said although the modalities were yet to be clarified, she believed the only caveat to the free SHS policy that would be rolled out this September would be for students to sit and pass the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).
Mrs Eshun was delivering a presentation at a stakeholders forum organised by the Educational and Management Training Foundation (EDMAT) in Accra to discuss issues of improving education delivery, educational financing and educational infrastructure development.
Mrs Eshun gave a presentation on the topic, “Overview of government’s partnership with mission schools: challenges, expectations and the way forward.
She traced the commencement of mission schools in Ghana to pre-colonial times when the Portuguese and Dutch began instructing indigenous people in English or the local language of the people.
She said that arrangement was later formalised, with fully fledged schools being set up by the missions.
The colonial government later came in and set up schools too.
Mrs Eshun said Sir Gordon Guggisberg, one of the Governors of the Gold Coast, laid out the 16 educational principles in 1925 that had at the heart of it cooperation between the government and citizens in the education of pupils.
It was at that time that education was supported by religious bodies.
However, some mission schools were handed over to the government in the recent past.
Mrs Eshun said the response by the then Minister of Education, Mr Ekow Spio Gabrah, in 1987 to a document by religious bodies submitted to the Ghana Education Service (GES) Council for the continued management of mission schools by the respective educational units was ignored by the GES.
She said the way forward was to foster a cordial relationship based on mutual respect of the strengths of both parties, that is, the government and religious bodies, in the management of educational institutions.
The Executive Director of EDMAT, Dr Robert Okyne, said there was the need to enhance educational output in the country and urged participants to suggest cogent ideas to move the sector forward.
The Chairperson for the forum, Dr Ernest Mensah Abraham, who is a lecturer at the University of Professional Studies Accra (UPSA), said there was the need for a regime for financing education to enhance the sector.