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Economic situation makes it difficult to consult parents before fixing fees – Proprietors

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The Conference of Directors of Private Pre-Tertiary Schools–Ghana, made up of proprietors of Private Schools, have expressed concern about public outcry against fees being charged by private educational institutions.

According to the group, the reopening of schools comes with a huge cost, especially putting in place safety protocols against Covid-19.

The group says it is regrettable those criticizing the high fees, are not looking at the expenses of the private schools as business entities, which are equally conscious of ensuring the safety of pupils and students.

President of the group, Philip Boateng-Mensah, said in the absence of any major support from parents or government, the private school owners are bearing the huge cost alone and must survive in an economy that is fast becoming harsher by the day.

Speaking to GBC’s Radio Ghana, Mr. Boateng-Mensah said with this development, private schools are not obliged to consult parents before fixing fees.

BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT

Conference of Directors of Private Pre Tertiary Schools–Ghana (CODPPTS) is a body of
Private School Owners, who through their own resources, have established Private Schools
like any private business entity in Ghana.

We have observed in recent times that, the reopening of schools, which comes in its trail huge cost to Private Schools to institute the safety protocols as recommended by Government amid reduction in class sizes, to ensure adequate distancing hence, review of fees upwards to at least break even has generated several complaints among parents that, they were not consulted before the upward adjustments of fees.

We wish to put on record that, just as no private business entity established in Ghana with
Private Schools not being exception do not consult customers, patients, clients etc. before
they review their prices upwards, the fixing of fees in Private schools are the prerogative of
Private school owners.

In a free market economy, prices of goods and services are determined by the interplay of demand and supply. All schools are not the same. If a parent chooses to be in a top class Private School with excellent learning environment, that becomes the decision of the Parent, hence must be ready for its associated cost/fees.

COVID–19 has been an eye opener for entrepreneurs in the private education sector because, when schools were closed down for almost a year, no Parent nor Government exhibited any concern about how Private School Teachers or Proprietors fared in order to provide a lifeline for survival.

The online studies, which were organized by schools did not witness any serious participation from most parents who are supposed to be our major stakeholders. In most
cases, even where school fees were halved, most parents did not pay for their wards to be
enrolled for the virtual classes, as means to support the Private School Teacher and for school maintenance.

It is important to seize this opportunity to educate all parents, who have wards in Private
Schools that, in as much as we recognise they are major stakeholders, their stake holding
right has a limit and does not extend to price fixing, which is the responsibility of the school
owners. Parents can negotiate for a reduction or flexible terms of payment from Private
School Owners. However, Private School Owners are not under any compulsion to go by the wishes of parents.

Parents are at liberty to look for a school that meets their budgets as happens in the business world. There is no law in Ghana, compelling a parent to stay in a particular school for example how do you insist on having your lunch at a five-star hotel when your lunch money is twenty Ghana cedis, when there are other restaurants that can provide you lunch and will exactly be within your budget.  What is strange is that, some very well educated parents, who are supposed to know better in such cases, are the ones who come to make the argument of Private Schools non- consultation with parents regarding fees increase. Just as hotels, spare parts dealers and in fact all private business entities in Ghana do not consult customers before they review their prices upwards, Private School Operators are not obliged to consult with parents before any price adjustment.

Parents have unfettered access to all schools in Ghana including Government schools, which are almost free, so it is needless to decide to stay in a particular school when your budget cannot keep you there.

Private Schools have levels. The maintenance, running expenses and quality of Teachers and other services differ from one school to another. If you want a five-star school, you should be ready to pay for a five-star service.

It is my believed that, this release will settle the issue of parents who are concerned about fee adjustment and their desire for consultation before same.

Signed
Mr. Philip Boateng Mensah
President

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