The much touted free Senior High School education policy which appears to be rallying cry of the opposition New Patriotic Party is estimated to cost $150million in its first year of implementation.
The amount is expected to swell to about $400 million in subsequent years after the policy has been rolled out.
This was confirmed by former Deputy Finance Minister Prof Gyan Baffour in an interview with Joy News’ Dzifa Bampoh, Wednesday.
With tuition fee already taken by the current education policy, Prof Baffour said the estimated amount will be for payment of boarding and lodging for the students as well as the expansion of infrastructure in the various public schools across the country.
By the policy, Basic Education will now be extended to the SHS level and be made free.
This means graduates of the JHS level will seamlessly proceed to the SHS, as its being done from the primary level to the JHS level at the moment.
The NPP flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo had played coy in a recent BBC Hardtalk interview when the issue of cost and sources of funding of the free SHS policy came up, saying he would rather disclose the implementation policy first to Ghanaians.
He was however categorical that part of the oil revenue will be utilized in implementing the policy.
In corroborating the assertion of the flagbearer, Prof Gyan Baffuor said the free SHS policy is far too possible a venture, notwithstanding the cost implications.
He said apart from the oil revenue, the government will depend on the judicious use of available resources to fund the project.
He noted that with a clear prioritization, even the current budget could afford to implement a free SHS policy.
Instead of allocating monies for the payment of judgement debts, he said a Nana Addo government will rather channel those resources into the funding of the policy.
According to him, the cost of funding education in Ghana at the moment is 5 per cent of GDP, estimating that under the free SHS policy, the amount will be 5.6 per cent of GDP which should be sustainable.
He said the policy will inure chiefly to the poor people, especially in the rural areas to have access to SHS education.
“The idea is to ensure that Ghanaians have secondary education free and borne by the government,” he said.
Meanwhile, former rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) said it is a “worthwhile goal to aim at free SHS education in Ghana.”
Prof Stephen Addei debunked assertion that a free SHS policy would lead to a decline in quality of education.
He argued lack of proper administration and supervision should be blamed for the decline and not necessarily the cost of education.
He said for the 43 days on the average that teachers are supposed to go to school, many do not go to class and even when they do, they fail to do what they have been paid to.
Prof Addei said free SHS must be decoupled from the quality of education.
Source Myjoyonline Ghana