The Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) has mounted a spirited defence in favour of their donation to the COVID-19 National Trust Fund. The Association recently donated ¢50,000.00 to help government address the COVID-19 pandemic.
This action was questioned by many who hold the view that the money should have been directed towards aiding schools reeling under the negative economic impact of the pandemic.
Responding to these claims, the Acting President of GNAPS, Dr Damasus Tuurosong described the total amount as “a drop in the ocean”.
“If you ever wanted to distribute ¢50,000.00 within schools in the Upper West Region, I do not know how many schools will get how much out of this amount,” he reasoned.
The Acting President of GNAPS continued “it is during your time of financial challenges that you are admonished to become even more philanthropic.” He went on to make references from the Bible regarding the offering of a widow.
Dr Tuurosong disclosed the total amount was realized after more than one thousand private schools across the country donated sometimes as little as ¢30.00 over a short period of time.
He explained looking at the number of private schools in the country, a bigger amount could have been realized if the various schools were in a better financial position saying “we know that our industry is the hardest hit by this COVID-19 and in that respect, government appreciated our little donation”.
Touching on the ¢600 million stimulus package for private businesses announced by the government, Dr Tuurosong mentioned that not much has been done about their appeals to the government to directly address the financial challenges facing private schools.
“Not much has happened. Private schools like other private school businesses are competing for the ¢600 million stimulus package. So we have been directed to the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) to channel our applications through that,” he said.
The Acting President for GNAPS disclosed that the Association has been directed by the NBSSI to fill certain forms with relevant information about the Association and profile of schools under it.
Dr Tuurosong said GNAPS is looking forward to receiving financial reliefs from the government in the forms of interest-free loans “for some schools to get back on track”. He said if this does not happen quickly, private schools could lose the majority of their staff running into hundreds of thousands across the country.
On the issue of running the academic calendar through the use of e-learning and learning channels created by the Ministry of Education, the Acting GNAPS President said: “it will be difficult to think that all students across the country would be able to keep up with the system.”
“No one should be deceived into thinking that these so-called online facilities that are being deployed can save our academic calendar. That is not going to be possible,” he stressed.
He explained that this is because most households in rural Ghana do not have the luxury of smartphones or television sets to be able to keep up with the ongoing classes. Dr Tuurosong explained that a more viable option would be to wait till schools reopen and organise intensive classes which will allow all school children properly grasp, the things being taught.