Schools offering international certificates oppose reduction of fees to reflect online study

Parents, backed by the National Inspectorate Board, are demanding that schools reduce their fees because they have reverted to online learning

The Association of International Certification Schools (ASICS) has kicked strongly against calls to regulate fees as its members adopt virtual learning.

Almost all the international certification schools have resorted to online learning in reaction to the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

This has led to some parents petitioning the National Inspectorate Board (NIB) to ensure that the schools reduce their fees. The parents maintain that, as their wards are no longer using school facilities and are studying from home, it is only fair that the fees be reduced.

However, the ASICS has opposed the idea, insisting that it operates to a different academic calendar from the one used by the Ministry of Education.

Threat to survival

In a statement, the ASICS said that dictating the fees its members should charge is outside the mandate of the NIB.

It further noted that interference from the NIB threatens the survival of private international certification schools, whose main source of funding is the fees they 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 micromanage aspects of the school operations which are the sole prerogative and a constitutional right of the management of private businesses,” the statement said.

“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.”

Strict academic calendar

The Association of International Certification Schools also bemoaned the government’s decision to postpone the 2019/20 academic year to January 2021.

Addressing the nation in his 16th COVID-19 update, President Akufo-Addo said classes for nursery, primary, first-year junior high school (JHS1) and first-year senior high school (SHS1) students are to remain suspended until January next year.

He noted, however, that second-year JHS and SHS students will resume classes on 5 October 2020.

Reacting to this, ASICS said the directive will greatly affect its members because their students write international examinations and do not have a flexible calendar.

“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,” the statement said.

“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.”

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

E A Alanore   

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online.

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