The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu in the Volta region, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has pledged to support private schools in his Constituency by paying their May salaries.
Mr Ablakwa, a former deputy Minister of Education, who is worried about the plight of private schools, especially in his Constituency, in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, says the support will cover both teaching and non-teaching staffs totaling 570.
The second time lawmaker, who doubles as the Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs Committee, announced this on facebook on Saturday after an extensive discussion with leadership of the affected schools.
The teachers and non-teachers like many other private schools in the country, have been without pay since March when schools nationwide were closed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The compensation package, The Herald gathered, will come through a new initiative of the parliamentarian.
“In the unfortunate circumstances, I have notified the leadership of private schools of a new MP’s initiative to offer a cash compensation package to all 570 teaching and non-teaching staff at the end of this month (May)”, he said.
In all, there are a total of 45 private basic schools in the North Constituency but since the closure of schools by government in March, none of these schools, has found the resources to pay their staffs bringing untold hardship to them.
“I have been in touch with the leadership of the 45 private basic schools in my beloved constituency to find out how they are coping with the exigencies of the times and to express my solidarity.
Sad to hear that unlike their counterparts in the public sector, teaching and non-teaching staff, have not received salaries since March, thanks to COVID-19”, he said while breaking the news.
Many private school owners have attributed their inability to pay their staffs to none payment of fees by parents because of the closure.
The schools, through their association, have pleaded with government to extend it stimulus packages to them as the closure of schools continues to bites them.
Since the desperate call, government has remained quiet as help appears not to be coming from anywhere.
The concerned MP said, he was particularly happy to hear that in the midst of the uncertainty, the schools despite their current predicament are unwavering and have assured him that they will lay no teacher off.
“I am particularly delighted that I have also secured assurance that no teacher would be laid off in these difficult times. We are all in this together. We defear COVID-19 together and we rise from the ashes together”, he concluded.
Followers of the MP applauded his show of concern and decision to assist these schools in these difficult times. They said support such as this was welcome especially at a time government is finding it difficult to support every group.
At a recent disinfection exercise in the Volta Region, sponsored by the Ghana Education Service (GES), Administrator of Wallah Academy Senior High School (SHS), at Ho, who doubles as the National Organizer of Conference of Private Schools, Maxwell Wallah Affram, begged government through the Ministry of Education to extend a hand of support to private schools.
Mr Affram said private schools which were already suffering because of the Free Senior High School programme by government reducing their numbers said government must necessarily come to their aid before the schools collapse.
He said, the plight of private schools in this COVID-19 era is unbelievably discouraging.