General News Mon, 13 Mar 2017

IFS cautions government over sustainability of free SHS policy

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned of a potential dip in the quality of education if government fails to identify pragmatic funding sources to sustain its free SHS policy.

The Institute says the fundamentals for achieving the objectives require robust and sustainable funds which need to be considered critically.

In a post analysis of the budget statement, the Executive Director for the IFS, Professor Newman Kusi further cautioned that the development may lead to undesirable circumstances that had characterized previous policies.

“If the enrolment numbers increase or double, are we assuming that there are available classrooms to accommodate the children so that we can get quality education. Are we saying that there are enough teaching and learning materials as well as teachers so that we do not continue with the schools under trees phenomenon?” he quizzed.

“What we must understand is that we have to grant access to children in school…in as much as we are talking about access to education, we must also look at the quality of education,” Prof. Kusi added.

The NPP government has announced an ambitious plan to increase access to education at the Senior High School level with the free SHS policy. The programme is expected to commence in the 2017/2018 academic year (September2017).

The government has since projected about 400 million cedis for the program.

Analysts believe the plan will increase enrollment by at least seventy percent.

Critiquing the budget, the Executive Director of the IFS, Professor Newman Kusi stressed the need to get other essentials adequately catered for in the free education policy.

Meanwhile the IFS has predicted increased public debt burden if government continues the current fiscal regime which lends itself to high debts.

The caution follows a fiscal deficit target of 6.5 percent of GDP representing 13.2 billion cedis.
Source: citifmonline.com
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