Education General News

Government unlikely to review Free SHS policy – Kofi Asare

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Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, says he doubts government will ever review the Free Senior High School programme.

According to him, the government has given no indication of doing so despite pressure from the International Monetary Fund to review the programme as part of its objectives to strengthen fiscal policy.

In IMF’s May 2023 country report on Ghana, it said the government had promised to “review all government flagship programmes and publish a strategy to decide their future course.”

The Free SHS programme is a key component of government’s flagship programmes and it is estimated to cost some GH¢2.9 billion. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has described the Free SHS as poorly targeted.

The IMF made this observation in its latest country report on Ghana.

Speaking on PM Express, Kofi Asare noted that the government’s recent response to the IMF was clear that the Free SHS policy intentionally lacked target and thus, there was nothing to be reviewed.

“I’m not sure government has resolved to review the Free Senior High School policy. Well, that is not my understanding of what the Minister of Information said this afternoon, and I don’t have any indication that government is going to review it.

“And I’ll be surprised if government reviews it because the communication on government position on the lack of targeting of the Free Senior High School is that government is aware, government is already aware that the Free Senior High School is not targeted so the World Bank said nothing new.

“And that the World Bank by saying that the policy is not targeted does not mean government is saying they’ve targeted it. That’s what Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said clear on JoyFM this afternoon.”

He added that till government categorically mentions that the Free SHS is to be reviewed; discussions on such a possibility are mere speculation.

“So to wit, until we see any formal communication from government indicating that it intends to review the Free Senior High School Programme, I think we will just be doing speculative exercise as we’ve been doing all this while.”

Meanwhile, the IMF has disclosed that Ghana spends close to 4% of its GDP on education with good results in terms of enrollment but poor learning outcomes.

Key identified areas by the IMF which need potential improvement in education spending include strengthening primary education resources, better teacher training, and stronger performance-based funding practices.

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