Gov’t has two-pronged approach to making public schools competitive – NaSIA boss

Dr. Haggar Hilda Ampadu
  • Touts establishment of model schools
  • To borrow best practices from ICS’s and Tier-1 GES schools

As part of measures aimed at making public basic and second cycle schools more competitive, the state will be applying a two-pronged approach, which involves the establishment of model schools as well as borrowing best practices from indigenous International Curricula Schools (ICSs) and other well-performing performing schools offering the Ghana Education Service (GES) curriculum.

This is according to the Executive Director and the Inspector-General of Schools of the National Schools Inspectorate Authority (NaSIA), Dr. Haggar Hilda Ampadu, who says that the moves will be a departure from the previous custom of adopting practices from foreign schools, with little consideration for the local context.

With public schools the less preferred option at the basic level – kindergarten, primary school and junior high school (JHS), ostensibly as a result of poor standards and performances, she says that the moves will ensure citizens have the confidence to take their wards to public schools as opposed to pushing them to private schools whatever the cost.

“There are two things here; one, the Education Minister, Yaw Osei Adutwum wants to establish model public schools like the Ghana International School et cetera. Could we have public schools that would deliver like the GISs, so that people would line up and have a long waiting list just to get in? Can we also improve the public school system so that it becomes competitive? So that there is healthy competition.

The other thing that we want to do is to borrow best practices from the best private schools. What we tend to do is to borrow from outside the country, but there are schools that are performing well here and people are willing to pay so much money for. What are they doing right that everybody is willing to pay that much money for? What can we learn as inspectors from that system? Can we bring the learnings to say, National Teaching Council to and say in the continuous development of teachers, we have observed that at GIS, these are the approaches they use, can we adopt something similar to train our teachers?” Dr. Ampadu said in a wide-ranging interview with the B&FT.

She was quick to add that the intended reforms will by no means be an avenue for taking business from private schools, on the contrary, she said, it will lead to greater levels of efficiency from the schools and value for money for patrons.

Biggest challenge

Touching on the most significant challenge that public schools face, she cited the lack of adequate infrastructure as number one. “For the few schools that I have had the privilege of inspecting myself, infrastructure has been the biggest challenge. In as much as we want to focus on learning outcomes, if learners do not have a conducive environment, it is a challenge.”

Dr. Ampadu however hinted that data from preliminary inspections suggest that the infrastructural deficit is not peculiar to rural areas, with some of the poorest and ill-equipped schools found in city centers, including the nation’s capital.


The NaSIA Executive Director added that her outfit is on the path to financial self-sufficiency, following the recently-extended scope of its operations. This, she said, will ensure the Authority is better placed to fulfil its mandate.

“Until November 2019 when we took over the mandate from GES, we had no means of being self-sustaining and we were totally dependent on the government… but makers of the law saw it fit to upgrade us from a board to an authority with more enforcement capabilities.

Also in part six of Act 1023, it gives us the power to generate income from the system. The part six of the law says that we should cover the cost of doing business, public or private. Even if it is a GES school, GES must cover the cost of inspection. We are not to declare a profit, however. But at this rate, in the near future, the organisation will be self-sustainable and will be able to inspect more schools to ensure quality is being attained in the education sector.”

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