The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has recommended a stakeholder consultation to review the implementation and costing plan of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
According to the coalition, which is a network of civil society organizations interested in promoting quality education, the national dialogue will allow for objective analysis and ensure buy-in from all Ghanaians.
“GNECC is calling for a national dialogue involving all stakeholders to arrive at a consensus for a long-term and sustained implementation of the Free SHS policy,” the coalition stated.
Addressing the media yesterday, Bright Appiah, GNECC Chair, said funding of the free SHS has generated a lot of debate because of the importance of the sustainability of the policy.
He indicated that in the absence of a publicly available fully costed implementation plan, how the policy would be funded in the medium to long term would become a subject of speculation.
Mr. Appiah noted that research done by the coalition indicated that the budgeted figure which government intends to use to implement the free SHS is inadequate to cater for the expenditure.
“With the estimated annual percentage increase in enrollment of 6% for SHS, it is estimated that the intake for the 2017/2018 academic year will be 432,780 and the recurrent expenditure per student from the 2016 Educational Sector Report of GH¢2,114 per student, gives a total expected expenditure of GH¢914,896,920.00,” he noted.
However, according to the Minister of Finance, the policy, which will start with first-year students in all public senior high schools across the country, will be funded with the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) from Ghana’s petroleum resources at an estimated cost of GH¢400 million.
Also, he said the current total enrolment for TVET education stands at 48,356, which means the annual enrolment will be 16,119. The recurrent expenditure per student for TVET education is GH¢5,610.00, giving an annual total TVET recurrent expenditure of GH¢90,427,590.00.
“This means that the estimated total annual recurrent expenditure for SHS and TVET education stands at GH¢1,627,365,321.00, translating to GH¢542,455,107.00 per term,” Mr. Appiah observed.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri & Abigail Owiredu-Boateng