Home Education We will review and rationalize Free SHS – Government ‘confesses’ to IMF

We will review and rationalize Free SHS – Government ‘confesses’ to IMF

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General News of Wednesday, 31 January 2024

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government has stated clearly that the flagship Free Senior High School (Free SHS) programme will be reviewed.

This was contained in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest report on Ghana’s US$3 billion bailout programme.

On page 76 of their 155-page report under the heading ‘PUBLIC SPENDING EFFICIENCY,’ the government spoke about among others, recalibrating the expenditure portfolio of Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs) responsible for social spending.

The relevant portion on education read: “The key objective is to shift the composition of spending by these MDAs towards targeted and well-designed interventions.

“In addition to functional review of relevant MDAs, we will carry out a comprehensive assessment of public sector wages, including in education and health sectors.

“In the education sector, we will review and rationalize the Free Senior High School (SHS) program. We will continue our support to tertiary education, take targeted measures to improve foundational learning (e.g., increasing capitation grants) and introduce reforms with the help of development partners to improve overall learning outcomes.”

The December 18, 2023 report was titled: “STAFF REPORT FOR THE 2023 ARTICLE IV CONSULTATION, FIRST REVIEW UNDER THE ARRANGEMENT UNDER THE EXTENDED CREDIT FACILITY, REQUEST FOR MODIFICATION OF PERFORMANCE CRITERIA, AND FINANCING ASSURANCES REVIEW.”

As recently as weeks back, the government was engaged in an exchange with former president John Dramani Mahama who has committed to reviewing Free SHS if he comes to office in 2025.

The government led by the education minister insists that the programme does not need review but improvements.

About the Free SHS policy

The free SHS Policy removes cost barriers through the absorption of fees approved by GES council.

It aims to improve quality through provision of core textbooks and supplementary readers, teacher rationalization and deployment, etc.

It further seeks to expand physical school infrastructure and facilities to accommodate the expected increase in enrollment.

SARA

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