A total of 126 private schools have collapsed due to financial challenges arising from the closure of schools in the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNCOPS) has said.
They had a total of about 37,800 students and pupils with 2,394 staff.
Sixteen of the schools are in the Greater Accra Region, 13 in Northern, 11 in the Ashanti Region and 10 each in the Eastern, Upper West and Bono East regions.
The Executive Secretary of the GNACOPS, Mr Enoch Kwasi Gyetuah, who made this known to the Daily Graphic, gave the remainder of schools as eight in the Central Region, eight in North East Region, seven each in Western and Savanna regions, six in the Volta Region, five in the Western North Region, four each in the Ahafo, Bono and Upper East regions as well as three in the Oti Region.
He said aside from the financial challenges the schools faced during the pandemic resulting in they being insolvent, other problems had to do with the, “lack of regulatory flexibility on the part of state agencies, inability to sustain teachers during the COVID-19 period and free movement of students to schools that offer less fees”.
“They were teaching on loan facilities and some of the banks have decided to take over as a result of their indebtedness to them. They are using the school facilities to pay off the debt,” he said.
Mr Gyetuah indicated that with the current situation, there was the need for the government to immediately intervene to save more schools from collapsing, since the number of affected schools was likely to increase before the January 15 reopening date.
“There should be immediate consultations with the private schools so that we can find out a better position to situate this since it has adverse effect on government’s infrastructure,” he said, adding, that would enable them to identify where each party went wrong.
The lesson, the council had learnt from the situation, he said, was that it had realised that it was on its own.
Mr Gyetuah expressed the hope that with the reopening of schools, private schools would be able to recover from the financial difficulties that they had been through over the past nine months.
Basic schools are set to reopen on January 18, this year, after 10 months’ closure as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On March 15, 2020, the President announced the closure of all schools and universities, among a string of measures to stem the spread of the pandemic.