The government has spent GH¢484,109,531.88 on the free senior high school (SHS) programme since its inception in September 2017.
The amount covered cost of furniture, physical education kits, school uniforms, clothes and house dresses.
It also catered for meals in day and boarding schools, supplementary readers, teachers’ notebooks, core textbooks, buffer stocks and other payments.
The Head of the Public Relations Unit of the Ministry of Education, Mr Ekow Vincent Assafuah, made this known in an interview in Accra yesterday.
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Mr Assafuah gave the breakdown of the money spent as: meals for students, GH¢5,015,464.90; uniforms, clothes and house dresses, GH¢48,864,908.36; furniture, GH¢65 million; physical education kits, GH¢9,632,846.55, and supplementary readers, GH¢10,057,510.
The rest are: exercise books, GH¢5,561,802,90; teachers’ notebooks, GH¢5,881,806.00; core textbooks, GH¢85,156,982.72; other payments, GH¢147,735,945.13, and buffer stock, GH¢151,762,918.99.
Mr Assafuah noted that the expenditure went to ensure that the implementation of the programme was smooth, adding that the ministry was providing the necessary logistics for the successful running of the programme and other important initiatives geared towards providing quality education.
In order to compensate for infrastructural deficit and other challenges faced by students, he said the government had supplied 40,000 mono desks, 13,145 bunk beds and 4,335 mattresses to SHSs across the country.
“Total fees paid by the government for every day student enrolled under the free SHS policy is GH¢648.47, while it pays GH¢1,004.27 for every boarder.
“The amounts have been duly paid by the government for all the students under the programme,” he stressed.
In September 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the free SHS policy, describing it as the means to creating a society of opportunities and empowerment for every citizen.
The first batch of students to benefit from the policy was enrolled in September last year.
The second batch of students is expected to begin in September this year.
A total of 509,824 final-year junior high school (JHS) students are to write this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) for qualification to SHS.
Under the free SHS programme, students do not pay admission, library, science centre, computer laboratory, utility and examination fees.
Boarding students benefit from free textbooks, free boarding fees and free meals, while day students are entitled to free lunch.