ActionAid calls for increased budgetary allocation to education sector


ActionAid subscribes to the global notion that education is a Human Right, a public good and a public responsibility as enshrined in Article 25, clause (1) of the 1992 Constitution – which guarantees that “all persons shall have the right to equal educational opportunities and facilities, and a view to achieving the full realisation of that right”.

Again, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which Ghana committed to in 2015, expressly state under Goal 4 to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all”.  The ten envisaged targets under Goal 4 of the SDGs collectively seek to ensure that: “all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education, leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes, by 2030”.

Moreover, under the Education 2030 Framework for Action, UNESCO member-states have committed to allocate four to six percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and/or at least 15 to 20 percent of their total public expenditure to education in general, and with a particular focus on basic education.

It is noteworthy that in 2012 Ghana recorded the highest total education expenditure allocation in recent times, with 27 percent of total government expenditure being allocated to education; equivalent to eight percent of the Gross Domestic Product. In that year, basic education received a 47.5 percent share of the budgetary allocation for education – with a significant amount dedicated to financing the construction of basic schools.

Unfortunately, education expenditure allocations have subsequently remained below 24 percent.  The continuing challenge with financing public education in Ghana has largely been created by competitive budgetary demands from various sectors of the economy – vis-a-vis the state’s subletting of its responsibility of education financing to private sector providers. This has adversely affected access to and quality of public basic education over the years.

The outlook for basic education especially is troubling, with an average annual expenditure growth set at only three percent – which is well below the expected rate of inflation. Without increased investments, the target of attaining inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all will remain a mirage. Ghana may thus not succeed in achieving the desired gender equality, and consequently not attain the objective of breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.

As we mark the fifth international education day themed ‘To invest in people, prioritise education’, ActionAid Ghana calls on the Ministry of Finance and Education to address the education sector’s unacceptably low budgetary allocation.

We believe that the reduction in budgetary allocation from 4.06 percent to 3.09 percent of GDP and 15.05 percent to 12.97 percent of government’s total expenditure in 2022 and 2023, respectively, falls below targets of the 2030 education framework.

Also, we are concerned that the low allocation may derail the desired target to build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender-friendly, and which guarantee safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.

John Nkaw, Country Director-ActionAid Ghana asserts: “While recognising that parliament has passed the tax exemptions bill into law, we believe the expenditure gap can be addressed if government improves domestic resource mobilisation by enforcing provisions of the tax exemption bill, curbs the tax leakages and increases the efficiency of educational investments to raise enough funds for education financing.

“Tax incentives and illicit losses to the taxpayer ultimately impact negatively on government funding for education. The mobilised resources therein could improve infrastructure for children in school, feed children and also employ additional teachers.”

We further call on government to take concrete action toward financing public, equitable, inclusive and free education.  Government must take decisive, forward-looking and expedient actions to reconfigure budget allocations in favour of the education sector, and so secure the future of our teeming youngsters who are in danger of being left behind.

ActionAid is a global federation that works closely with citizens, civil society organisations and social movements – to empower people living in poverty and exclusion to fight for women’s rights, social justice and an end to poverty. At ActionAid, we help people use their own power to bring about real change for women, communities and societies.

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