Free SHS: Over 5.7 million students have benefited from the policy – EduWatch

Over 5.7 million Ghanaian pupils have benefited from the government’s flagship program, the free senior high school (Free SHS) policy, since its launch in September 2017, according to Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch).

The education think tank claims that the implementation of the Free SHS policy is what caused the notable spike in secondary school enrollment, which went from 813,448 in the 2016–17 school year to 1.3 million in the 2022–2023 school year.

Free SHS: Over 5.7 million students have benefited from the policy – EduWatch

According to Eduwatch, the average yearly enrollment of students over the first six years of the policy was 422,940, while the average annual enrollment in the six years prior to the policy was 260,490.

“About 5.7 million students have so far benefited from the free SHS policy from the 2017/18 to 2022/23 academic year. Between the 2019/20 and 2022/23 academic years, 194,862 candidates did not honour their admissions at first instance into second cycle schools,” the report, titled Financial Burden Analysis of the Free SHS Policy and Equitable Access, said.

In terms of government expenditure, the report indicated that between the 2017/23 and 2023/24 academic years, a total of GH¢12.88 billion was allocated to the Free SHS policy, with an average annual allocation of GH¢1.84 billion.

“Budget credibility has been on a continuous decline since 2018/19. Financial Burden Analysis of the free SHS Policy and Implications on Equitable Access academic year – from 120 percent in the 2017/18 academic year to 99 percent in the 2018/19 academic year, 76 percent in 2019/20, and 58 percent in 2020/21. In 2021/22, the lowest rate of 51 percent of approved funds was spent,” an excerpt of the report added.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) received a recommendation from Eduwatch that the free SHS policy should initially concentrate on meeting the needs of children from the most economically disadvantaged households.

For this endeavor, they suggested starting with data from the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program.

Below is the full report

Akosua Boatemaa

I'm Yours Truly, Blogger Akosua Boatemaa. I'm here to feed Your eyes and Ears with Authentic News Updates.

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