Policy think tank, IMANI Ghana, will be launching a tracker for government’s free Senior High School policy.
The tracker is known as Expanding Quality, Inclusion & New Opportunities in Education (EQUINOX).
A statement from the think tank explained that, EQUINOX was a unified gauge with composite indicators that would assess the implementation of the free SHS policy.
The indicators include an enrollment trajectory, per capita spending, per capita spending efficiency, assessment metrics, resource disbursement schedules, and resource availability metrics.
IMANI in its statement noted that, government has decided to opt for a model of implementation of the free SHS that relies on expanded government subvention, fees abolishment and general taxation.
The Minister of Education has announced the 2017/2018 academic year as the start of the policy, and a budget of $800 million for implementation, though IMANI says it is not clear if the $800 million is additional money or the aggregate Senior High School (SHS) budget once the roll-out commences.
The think tank however assumes the Education Minister was referring to the total SHS budget currently at $330 million, whilst noting that government’s enrollment projections are over-optimistic
“It is not clear if this is additional money or the aggregate Senior High School (SHS) budget once the roll-out commences. We will assume that he is referring to the size of the total SHS budget (currently at $330 million) in the 2017/2018 academic year, as a result of the program’s commencement.”
“His enrolment projections seem however over-optimistic. He appears to believe that an additional 800,000 students can be added to the secondary education population within a year of program launch. This is both arithmetically and analytically difficult to understand.”
IMANI also expressed some skepticism that a bulk of the funding would go into administrative overheads rather than into direct investments into school budgets.
“If current enrollment rates of 65% at the secondary level are credible, then it is unlikely that additional numbers exceeding 400,000 new students can be recorded in the medium-term. This underscores our suspicion that a good deal of the funding for this project will go to administrative overheads rather than into direct investments into school budgets. The Minister’s numbers appear to indicate an administrative budget of more than $400 million. This is the only conclusion to draw as his numerical projections are suspicious,” the statement noted.