Economist and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Ernest Aryeetey, is projecting that it will cost the country GHS3.3 billion to fund the Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy in the coming academic year.
The amount, which is exclusive of salaries for staff, is almost thrice the GHS1.3 billion that was budgeted for the policy in the 2018 budget.
Making a presentation on how to finance free quality education in the country, Prof. Aryeetey said the strong growth in the cost of the programme would be influenced by its maturity from the current two streams to three streams.
He said the cost estimate was based on data obtained from the running of SHSs nationwide.
Should the status quo remain, Prof. Aryeetey said the cost of Free SHS could spiral to GHS5 billion per annum in the coming years.
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Although a positive programme, he said the strong growth in cost of the Free SHS could deny funding to other sectors of the economy, thereby strangulating growth in those areas.
As a result, he called for a realistic strategy to ensure that those who can afford, pay for their wards to go to SHSs.
He said that strategy could come in the form of targeting, either through schools, regions or parents, using their employment histories.