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Free SHS not under review, GH¢5.3bn spent on 1.26m students – Ofori-Atta

BY: Maxwell Akalaare Adombilla
Free SHS not under review, GH¢5.3bn spent on 1.26m students – Ken Ofori-Atta
Free SHS not under review, GH¢5.3bn spent on 1.26m students – Ken Ofori-Atta

The free senior high school programme (SHS) and the technical and vocational education training (TVET) is not under review, the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta has said.

He added that the government has so far spent GH¢5.3 billion on the programme and that those who have benefited are about 1.26 million children across the country.

Mr Ofori-Atta told Parliament during the mid year budget review presentation that the government would now work to protect the gains chalked up under the programme.

He said the government was also aware of the challenges facing the programme and was working to fix them.

Key among the measures, he said was the transportation of foodstuffs from the hinterlands to the schools to feed the students.

“Mr. Speaker, we have placed human capital development at the core of our national transformation efforts since 2017. We have invested GH¢5.3 billion to enable 1,261,495 Ghanaian children access to secondary education under the Free SHS programme at the end 2021 to improve access to education,” he said.

He explained that out of the 571,892 registered JHS candidates, 555,353, representing 97.1 per cent, were placed into SHS this year (2022).

“This is significant. We are aware of reported challenges in accessing and transporting food for students in SHS and we are fixing it.

In response, we have engaged stakeholders and devised a programme that ensures that schools will not be disrupted and our students are well-fed.

“The government has also recently completed 17 additional projects, including classroom blocks, dormitories, staff bungalows and libraries as part of infrastructural expansion in SHSs to deal with the record increases in student numbers,” the minister said.

No compromise

“Mr Speaker, we shall not compromise on President Akufo-Addo’s commitment to giving all our children the opportunity to be educated from kindergarten to university, without the ability to pay being a hindrance.

“Free Secondary and TVET education are not under review. We will continue to fund them and we will continue to improve them,” he said.