Given the huge cost that the free Senior High School(SHS) programme has on Ghana’s budget, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is asking government to split the cost with parents.
Addressing participants at a press conference on the President Akufo Addo’s fourth State of the Nation Address, Research Director of the Institute, Dr. John Kwakye said Free SHS has been very costly due to government’s decision to absorb almost all expenses.
He is therefore suggesting a cost sharing approach be used in running the free Senior High School Programme.
“It has been suggested that some kind of means-testing could have been used such that parents who are financially capable would pay for their wards. An alternative to this will be to split the cost between government and parents.”
Even though the Free SHS policy is an important social intervention and human capital-building initiative, Dr. Kwakye believes that the quality must not be compromised.
“The President reiterated his defence of the policy, stating that the justification for it is “compelling” and “incontrovertible.” The key challenge has been how to balance quantity against quality. Because of the large numbers of intakes, infrastructure and other facilities have lagged behind, which could compromise quality”.
The government spends GH¢453 million annually to fund the Free Senior High School programme which has been running for over two years.
This, according to analysts, leaves little fiscal space for the government to undertake other development activities.