$40m boost for Free SHS… As Parliament approves WB support to finance secondary education

Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah

Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah

Parliament, on Thursday, approved a US$ 40 million loan facility to improve upon some Senior High Schools in the country.

 

The facility forms part of a financing agreement between the government of Ghana and the International Development Association of the World Bank.

 

The loan would be used as additional financing for the Secondary Education Improvement Project (SEIP) which would upgrade facilities in some existing 75 Senior High Schools.

 

Hundred and Seven other schools, with an average of WASSCE performance of less than 30 per cent are also to benefit whiles 23 new schools are to be constructed.

 

The purpose of the loan is to increase access to SHS education in under-served districts and to improve quality in low performing schools in the country.

 

With a five-year grace period, the loan has 25-year maturity period and comes at an interest rate of 1.25 per cent per annum.

 

The Finance Committee’s report, sighted by Ghanaian Times mentioned a bursary component under the project aimed at assisting some beneficiary students of the Free SHS to meet other expenses such as transportation, clothing, footwear and other necessary living expenses.

 

According to the report tabled by the Chairman of the Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, MP, New Juaben South, the facility will support Ghana’s Education Strategic Plan (ESP 2016-2030) to ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote learning opportunities for all in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

 

The project, the report said, dovetailed into Ghana’s lower-middle income status which required more secondary level graduates with the relevant skills to enter the job market, adding that investing in secondary education will improve the human capital of the country.

 

Urging his colleagues to approve the facility, Dr Assibey-Yeboah said “the committee finds the project immensely important towards enhancing secondary education in Ghana to help provide more secondary level graduates with the relevant skills to enter tertiary institutions and the labour market.”

 

The loan comes at a time the secondary school sector is faced with numerous challenges as a result of the implementation of the free SHS programme which has exposed the infrastructural inadequacies at schools across the country.

 

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo had earlier hinted at this facility as being a solution to the infrastructure challenges in the schools.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

 

 

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