Inspectorate Board veering off mandate over Charging of Fees in Private Schools – Int’l Certificate Schools

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International Certification Schools afford Ghanaian students the opportunity to pursue studies abroad

The Association of International Certificate Schools (ASICS) has described the intervention of the National Inspectorate Board (NIB) during these COVID-19 times as its biggest threat.

A statement released by the association indicated that even though the NIB is charged to deliver on “its mandate to inspect standards of teaching and learning”, the board has veered off that mandate since the COVID-19 lockdown period in March 2020.

According to the statement, “the NIB has been operating outside its legal mandate by attempting to dictate the fees schools can charge.”

“We appreciate its mandate to inspect standards of teaching and learning. However, since March we believe the NIB has been operating outside its legal mandate by attempting to dictate the fees schools can charge and to micro-manage aspects of the school operations which are the sole prerogative and a constitutional right of the management of private businesses,” the statement read.

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The Association outlined some challenges the schools have faced over the period. They mentioned financial challenges including a drastic reduction of income as a result of outstanding fees of term 2 and 3 because of the closure of schools since March.

They also stated that there have been staff lay-offs and salary reduction, adding that the NIB has threatened to halt their virtual learning programme and to refuse registration of schools.

The statement also said that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) have consistently made financial demands on schools in the wake of the numerous challenges the schools are facing.

The Association, therefore, called “for a more harmonious and collaborative stance which is sensitive to, and in keeping with the rights of private enterprise in a free market economy, to be instituted within the corridors of power in the NIB.”

The Association of International Certification Schools (ASICS GH) which represents over 60 schools which run international curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) among others, cited their roles in the education sector locally and internationally.

According to them, International Certification Schools have given many students the foundation to continue their education anywhere in the world, if circumstances favour studying abroad.

They said they have also contributed to the income of the state in payment of taxes, providing sustainable employment and the spending power of such schools has had a significant impact on the economy of this country, however, they have been faced with a myriad of challenges during this Covid-19 era.

Read the full statement below:

Press Statement from ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATION SCHOOLS (GHANA)

International Certification Schools kick against attempts to regulate school fees

A. Introduction

The Association of International Certification Schools (ASICS GH) represents over 60 schools which run international curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) and others.

When our President announced the physical lockdown of all schools on 15th March, we realised that we had the capacity to rise to the President’s challenge of finishing the academic year online. A quick solution had to be found to these problems which required empathy and cooperation between school and parents.

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This took the form of:

  1. consultations with parents to find ways of solving the problem with as much agreement as possible in view of the immense challenges on both sides.
  2. training and investment in online infrastructure and techniques.

Unlike other sectors of the economy, we are not in receipt of any financial assistance from the government and our only source of income is from school fees. This resulted in schools struggling to pay staff.

B. The peculiar situation of International certification schools and private schools generally

As schools following an international programme, we are required to comply with the necessary regulatory bodies, both locally and internationally, to prepare our students for international examinations.

Since International Certification schools are subject to an academic calendar which is not as flexible as the MOE school year, we could not afford to delay the Third and First Terms without jeopardising the preparation of our examination students. A case in point is this year’s Cambridge International May/June examination results which were based on teacher predicted grades which were in turn based on evidence of students’ classwork, termly examinations, mock examinations and recorded teacher assessment over the 2 year course period prior to the exams. For this reason, we must complete the syllabus as well as teacher assessments and student preparation either in the physical classroom or via virtual online lessons. To suspend the third term would have led to an inability to admit new students at the beginning of the next school year, leading to further financial losses.

C. Financial Hardships faced by International Certification schools and private schools generally included:

  1. Outstanding Terms 2 and 3 fees since the lockdown in March.
  2. Staff lay-offs and reduction of staff salaries.

  3. Teachers deciding to leave the profession.

  4. The National Inspectorate Board (NIB) demanding that schools reduce fees in accordance with parents’ demands.

  5. The GRA and SSNIT continuing to make financial demands on schools

  6. Arbitrary Levy of Registration Fees for International Certification schools by the NIB.

 

  1. The NIB threatening to halt our virtual learning programme and to refuse registration of schools.

D. The role of the NIB in worsening the hardships

We appreciate its mandate to inspect standards of teaching and learning. However, since March we believe the NIB has been operating outside its legal mandate by attempting to dictate the fees schools can charge, and to micro-manage aspects of the school operations which are the sole prerogative and a constitutional right of the management of private businesses.

The members of ASICS see the intervention of the NIB towards private International Certification schools as one of the biggest threats to our survival. We would expect a more harmonious and collaborative stance which is sensitive to, and in keeping with the rights of private enterprise in a free market economy, to be instituted within the corridors of power in the NIB.

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E. International Certification schools in Ghana have for many decades played a significant role in enriching the educational landscape of Ghana by raising educational standards. This has allowed parents to choose the type and standard of education they want for their children as is typical in every sector, and characteristic of a free market economy like Ghana.

International Certification Schools in Ghana have:

  1. complemented the role of government in providing education for the last 60 years. Private schools, in general, cater for approximately 30% of school-going children.
  2. modelled some of the best schools anywhere in the world and spearheaded academic excellence in Ghana.

  3. given many students the foundation to continue their education anywhere in the world, if circumstances favour studying abroad.

  4. given Ghanaians who aspire to have an alternative educational experience, a wide range of options in terms of academic programs, fee options, etc.

  5. provided sustainable employment and livelihoods to thousands of skilled professionals.

  6. contributed to the income of the state in payment of taxes, and the spending power of such schools has had a significant impact on the economy of this country.

Much has been said in the media, some of which was untrue, and designed to fuel conflict between stakeholders. We trust that this statement represents a more accurate and balanced view of the plight of private schools in Ghana.

Thank you

The Interim Council for the

Association of International Certification Schools (ASICS GH)


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