The Africa Education Watch(AEW) has advised the Government to prioritize the efficient utilization of scarce resources when it comes to the financing of the free SHS.
The Executive Director of the policy think-tank argued that this was important to avoid “crowding basic schools from getting its share of the budget in the education sector”. He shared these thoughts during an interview with Samuel Eshun on e.TV Ghana’s ‘Fact Sheet’ show.
“No one is saying that the free SHS is not worthy of financing but the test of a good policy, among other things, is its financial efficiency. The Government of Ghana can decide to finance free SHS but that is not what we are talking about.”
“The question is not about the government being able to finance free SHS. The question is about the efficiency in the use of scarce resources within the education sector and whether or not the manner we are spending on free SHS justifies the opportunity cost”, he stated.
Further illustrating his point, he argued that allocating, say, 4 billion out of 15 billion for only secondary school education which is consumed by only 1.2 million children at the expense of 7 million students at the basic level does not represent the “optimum allocation of resources or efficient utilization of scarce resources”.
Deputy Finance Minister-designate, Abena Osei Asare has said that the excessive borrowing by the President Akufo-Addo-led government must continue to undertake developmental projects, such as the Free SHS, in the country.
During her vetting on Thursday, June 3, 2021, she told the Appointments Committee of Parliament: “We need to continue with the Free SHS, we need to continue the road construction. We need to continue with the Ghana CARES, we need to continue with the infrastructure the people want to have. So, in this situation, what do you do? We try as much as possible to borrow amounts of money that will serve our interest”.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, as a flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) since 2008, promised to make Senior High School education free. His promise was described by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) as unattainable.
But in 2017, the free senior high school education policy was introduced. That year, there was an 11% increase in enrolment, breaking records from previous years. In the 2017/18 academic year, a new record was set with the highest enrolment ever seen in the country: over 470,000 students enrolled in senior high school.