The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori Attah, has stated that government has so far invested about GH¢8.4billion in advancing education at the second cycle level through its flagship Free Senior High School (SHS) programme.
According to him, this investment had made it possible for some 5.7 million Ghanaians to access quality high school education over the past seven years.
Additionally, government has invested GH¢3.6billion in the School Feeding Programme (SFP) to increase enrolment and learning outcomes at the basic level of 3.8 million pupils. Also, GH¢248.5million was invested in the Capitation Grants to support the foundational education of over six million pupils.
The minister made these remarks during his presentation of the 2024 fiscal policy and budget statement on the floor of parliament in Accra, and highlighted the huge investments government has made over the past seven years – adding that it will “continue taking steps to prepare our children for a brighter future and, ultimately, transform society; especially by tackling the root cause of poverty that has afflicted many families from generation to generation.
“Government’s flagship Free Senior High School and TVET programme continues to create and expand access to secondary education in the country. In a generation’s time, when we have a more educated population that sustains social mobility and cohesion, we will appreciate the significance of these decisions and investments,” he said.
Furthermore, providing some insights into educational programmes in the year under review, the minister mentioned that a total of 448,000 first-year SHS students were enrolled on the programme for support – bringing total beneficiaries for the 2022/2023 academic year to 1.3 million students.
Under the School Feeding Programme, he indicated that government invested over GH¢740million to feed 3.8 million pupils, ensuring one hot meal a day in over 10,000 public basic schools.
“In 2024, the implementation of these transformative initiatives will continue,” he indicated.
In 2005, the Capitation Grant (CG) was introduced into the country’s educational system – based on the argument that one reason children in Ghana do not attend school is that their parents cannot afford to pay the levies charged by schools. Therefore, government set up a grant under which every public primary school receives an amount of GH¢3 per pupil enrolled per year.
This policy, which is described as one of the most vital educational policies aimed at reducing the country’s high illiteracy rate at the basic level, the minister emphasised that the scheme received a major boost in the year under review – easing the financial burden on parents and guardians.
He indicated that feeding grants were provided for some 7,500 students in special schools, and capitation grants to all public basic schools across the country.
“The registration fees of over 471,000 prospective candidates from public JHS for the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) were paid to guarantee that all candidates would sit for the examination,” he emphasised.