The government will soon return the management and supervision of mission schools to religious bodies, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has hinted.
The move, according to the minister, would be in fulfilment of the 2016 manifesto pledge of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the run-up to the December 7, 2016 general election.
He stated that just as the government paid the salaries of doctors, nurses and staff of some mission hospitals in the country, the state would continue to take care of the salaries of teachers in mission schools after the appropriate contract had been signed between the government and the religious bodies.
Dr Prempeh was interacting with journalists after addressing a stakeholders’ forum on education in Kumasi yesterday.
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The forum, attended by regional and district directors of education, headmasters, bursars and accountants of senior high schools, was aimed at discussing how best the country could improve on the quality of education.
The event was also intended for the minister to brief the stakeholders on the implementation of the free senior high school policy.
Religious organisations have oftentimes called on the government to return mission schools to them to manage and supervise.
The Catholic Church has been at the forefront of the call on the state to return the schools to religious bodies.
In 2014, the Christian Council of Ghana said its members were in a position to better maintain schools established by some of the churches in the country and called on the government to release all schools belonging to some of its members to them.
Some of the schools include Wesley Girls, Presbyterian Boys’ School and Adisadel College.
In 2016, the Chairman of the National Peace Council, the Most. Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante, called for proper partnership between government and religious bodies towards the management of mission schools.
Expatiating on the government’s intention to give the mission schools to the religious bodies, Dr Prempeh said the government was not running away from the fact that it had to allow the private sector to participate in the public space in the educational sector.
He said just as the government paid for Ghanaians to seek medical attention at private hospitals through the National Health Insurance Scheme, a similar arrangement could be made in the case of education.
Filth in schools
Touching on filth and bedbugs that had ‘invaded’ some boarding senior high schools, the minister urged the affected schools to ensure environmental sanitation.
He said it did not make any sense to give the job of the cleaning of high schools to outsiders, adding that he learnt to wash his clothes, clean the toilet, scrub gutters and clean bathrooms at the Prempeh College, where he had his secondary education.
He said because of sanitation, the problem of bedbugs infestation did not arise during his schooldays and wondered why it had become pervasive in schools now.