The government has released GH¢200 million for the smooth running of its flagship programme, the Free Senior High School (SHS).
Part of the amount will go to the National Food Buffer Stock (NAFCO) for the purchasing of food items, while some will go to the heads of SHSs to cater for perishables.
The remaining amount covers part of last year’s arrears and other expenses such as uniforms, feeding for the boarding students and one hot meal for day students.
The Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic, said other details of the disbursement would be made available later.
“For now, we are working out how much will be apportioned to each of the areas. The most important thing is that the government has released GH¢200 million and this is good enough for me,” he said.
Dr Adutwum gave the assurance that more funds would be released in the course of the academic year, saying, “there are funds for the flagship programme and this tells you that the government is not broke”.
Currently, there are 827,193 continuing students in the second and third-year SHS.
A head count will be conducted this semester to determine the exact number of first-year students who have enrolled.
According to the ministry, an estimated 447,219 first-year students had so far enrolled.
More than 1.6 million students as of the end of 2021 have benefited from the government’s flagship education programme, Free SHS, since its inception in 2017.
The average enrolment in SHSs has also increased from about 800,000 in 2015 to 1.2 million in 2021, with the double-track system playing a major role in that regard.
The Free SHS programme since its inception has been financed from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA) of petroleum revenues and the general government coffers or the Consolidated Fund.
To ensure that no child is denied access to education, the Free SHS policy was introduced to provide key requirements such as tuition, meals for both boarders and day students, textbooks, library fee, boarding fee, science laboratory fee, examination fee, and utility fees and school uniforms.