[ 2012-08-17 ]
'Free SHS Is Possible'
A civil society group, Centre for National Affairs
(CNA), has conducted a comprehensive research
which concludes that the free Senior High School
(SHS) education being proposed by the New
Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer, Nana Addo-Dankwa
Akufo-Addo, is absolutely possible to implement.
The NPP said if it was voted back into power, it
would implement an educational policy that would
ensure that education from basic to the SHS levels
would be compulsory and completely free.
According to CNA, the capital requirement for the
educational policy was likely to cost
approximately $250million in the medium term.
CNA based its calculation on the total enrolment
in JHS (all three years) and current primary-six
(one year) students who were likely going to be
the medium term beneficiaries of the policy.
'Based on our analysis, we conclude that while
some critical details are lacking from the NPP,
the programme is worth exploring and containable
in public expenditure in the medium term,' stated
the CNA in a press release issued yesterday.
According to data from the Ministry of Education,
total national enrolment in public JHS was
1,387,588 for the 2010/2011 academic year while
that of primary-six was 457,229.
In the statement signed by Eric Yeboah Nartey,
head of policy research, CNA assumed that the
total beneficiaries of the policy, including an
estimated number of private school students who
were likely to defect to public schools to benefit
from the freebies in the medium term, would peak
In its calculations, the CNA used the latest Ghana
Living Standard Survey's (GLSS) to do the
computation of cost requirement for the policy.
In the GLSS, an amount paid per person attending
SHS by households was equivalent to $148.
According to the CNA, any political party
proposing a free educational policy would have to
cover at least 84.6% ($118.4) of this household
This represents expenditure such as school fees-
42.9%, food, boarding and lodging- 27.6%, books
supplies- 9.7%, uniform and sports- 3.5% and PTA
CNA calculated that, 'Assuming the policy takes
effect in 2014 in a phased manner, starting with
those entering SHS that particular year, this will
amount to total cost of approximately $50 within
the first year of implementation.
By which time those currently in JHS1 will be in
SHS 1. However, if the NPP intends to make a
grandstanding pronouncement for all students in
SHS in 2014, then the additional outlay would be
about $233 million.'
It is assumed that Ghana's GDP for 2014 will be
around $92.3billion. In CNA's view, this boost in
GDP would release an extra $645.9million that
could be channelled into education. 'We take the
view that the buoyant outlook of our economy
suggests these new expenditure items can be
absorbed by the public purse within the medium to
long term,' CNA noted.
'CNA is inspired by the fact that Government found
GH¢1,145,865,991 for priority intervention
programmes in 2012.
We believe that if indeed free SHS is a priority
for the NPP, finding $231,537,476 to educate
1,962,182 Ghanaians in the medium term cannot be
detrimental to the foundation of the economy.
Going forward, we believe that tax lodgments from
GETFund, expected revenue from the oil and gas
sector, and efficient management of public funds
are key,' said an optimistic CNA.
Indeed, CNA's perspective conforms largely to
similar analyses made by other think-tanks who
went to work immediately the policy was proposed.
IMANI, a highly vocal think-tank, had done some
work on the concept and had concluded that it was
feasible but a bit over ambitious.
These views are in sync with similar conclusion
drawn by the education advocacy group, Ghana
National Education Coalition.
'We have no doubts that any government, willing
and determined to implement this policy, can do so
successfully in collaboration with all
However, since the NPP flagbearer hinted at this
ambitious education policy, he has received
intense bashing from the ruling NDC which has
dismissed the policy as extremely unrealistic.
The NDC wondered how the NPP intended to mobilise
the requisite resources to implement the policy.
The NPP insisted that the free educational policy
was top on its priority list, given the declining
state of education in Ghana.
The rate of educational transition was on a
precipice, especially when hundreds of thousands
of JHS students were unable to transit to SHS,
mostly because of poor grades and lack of funding
for their tuition in SHS.
Source - Daily Guide
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