Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has revealed to Parliament that the government’s most ambitious social intervention policy, Free Senior High School (SHS), has cost the state GH¢3.2bn in the first 3 years of its implementation, benefitting some 1.2m students across the country.
This, he said, has translated into about GH¢2.2bn in savings for the parents and families of the beneficiary students.
“That’s money in the pocket of Ghanaians and an investment by the state for every family in this country,” Mr. Ofori-Atta said on Thursday as he presented the mid-year budget review statement to legislators.
“So far, expenses on the Free SHS programme have remained on track,” he added.
The first year of implementation of the policy saw the government earmark about GH¢400m to take care of over 300,000 students who were placed in Senior High Schools (SHS) across the country. With the full roll-out of the policy completed, total enrolment in SHS currently stands at 1.2m students, the highest ever in the country’s history.
In 2019, out of the GH¢12.87bn allocated to the Ministry of Education to fund its programmes and activities, GH¢1.68bn was earmarked for the Free SHS programme.
Two years ago, in the second year of the implementation of the policy, the government earmarked GH¢679.6m to be spent on the programme.
Government has said Free SHS has provided unparalleled access to secondary education in Ghana, raising the total enrolment by 50 percent in three years.