Government would release the rest of the funds for the free Senior High School policy programme after the heads of the Senior High Schools (SHSs) and Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) institutions have submitted the returns of total enrolment figures of BECE candidates in their schools.

This followed the disbursement of 20 per cent out of the 50 per cent funds released by the Government to the Education Ministry for the implementation of the free SHS policy for the 2017/2018 academic year.

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, Deputy Minister of Education in charge of SHS/TVET, told the Ghana News Agency, in Accra, on Monday.

He said: ‘‘some schools may enrol more students, while others may enrol below the projected figures, so we are waiting to see how the enrolment goes and then we will do the adjustment and send the rest of the money to the schools’’.

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Dr Adutwum said about 25,000 BECE candidates who duly qualified for admissions into SHS were yet to be self-placed in their preferred schools and added that, the deadline for self-placement had been extended to September 30, 2017.

The Government has projected to expend GH¢480 million on the policy in each academic year, but promised to release an initial amount of GH¢280 million, which constitute a little over 50 per cent of the total amount to the Education Ministry for onward disbursement to the SHSs/TVET institutions.

The policy would be funded from the Annual Budget Funding Amount.

The Ghana News Agency checks at the Education Ministry on Monday morning showed that, there were many parents and guardians still there trying frantically to get placements for their wards, while some desks had been mounted at the premises with officials of the Ministry explaining issues to them.

There were 150,770 candidates out of the 424, 092 BECE candidates who qualified for admissions into SHS, but could not be placed during the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).

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The policy is intended to relieve huge financial burden on parents and guardians so that students who qualified for second cycle education would have quality, equity and accessible education.

It also marks the end of the era when financial constraints were a barrier to the aspirations of children who wanted to access second cycle education.

All the SHSs and TVET candidates who have gained admissions are supposed to report to their chosen school today following the re-opening of SHSs for the 2017/2018 academic year.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Okuapeman SHS earlier this year, spelt out fees that would be absorbed by the Government under the free SHS policy.

The President said apart from the tuition fees, which is already free, other fees would be scrapped including admission fees, library fees, science centre fees and computer laboratory fees.

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Other fees and levies that would be absorbed by government are; examination fees, utility levies, free textbooks, free boarding and meals, while day students will get a free hot meal a day.

The policy would also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level, while government continues with the construction of new public senior high schools.

The free SHS policy is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) Four, Target One, which stipulates that; ‘‘By 2030, all boys and girls complete free ,equitable and quality primary and secondary education, leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes’’.
It also stated that by 2030, all girls and boys will have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education, so that they are ready for primary education.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh

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