Africa Education Watch (EduWatch) has revealed that despite the implementation of the free Senior High School ( free SHS) policy by the Government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, lack of money to buy school items( prospectuses) and other costs have prevented some students from enrolling into various senior high schools.
According to a report by EduWatch on the financing of education titled “The Financial Burden of the Free SHS Policy and Implications for Equitable Access to Education”, 15 per cent of all students placed in senior high schools for 2022/2023 failed to honour their admissions due to financial difficulties.
Mr Divine Kpe, Senior Programmes Officer of the Africa Education Watch, who presented the report before stakeholders, also revealed that parents and guardians of students under the free senior high school policy spent more on average than the government does per student.
The report said that for 2021/2022 academic year while on average government spent GHS 1,147and GHS 1,107 on boarding and day students respectively, parents and guardians spent on average GHS 2,477 on prospectuses and GHS 4,000 on personal effects for boarding students.
The education think tank appealed to the Government, particularly the Ministry of Finance, to ensure prompt disbursement of funds to the Ghana Education Service and the schools to enable schools to meet the expenses of the schools in time.
In September 2017, President Akufo-Addo launched the free senior high school policy to ensure that there is “inclusive and equitable education and the promotion of lifelong opportunities for all.”
He noted that the policy would “lift the financial burden off our parents, and the heart-rending anxiety that accompanies the beginning of every school term.”
But EduWatch has said that notwithstanding its implementation, financial difficulties of parents and guardians still remain a challenge to universal access to education.