President Nana Akufo-Addo has settled the quandary over the source of funding for his flagship Free SHS policy, announcing that the programme will be paid for by mineral and oil revenues.
The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu at a news conference Monday questioned the sustainability of the policy and demanded explicit statement on the source of funding for the land mark educational policy.
However, speaking at the launch of the free SHS policy in Accra Tuesday, the President said,”we have decided to use proceeds from our natural resources to help educate our economic transformation.”
He said it will be better for such monies to be used to improve the lives of people than go into the pockets of a few individuals.
President Akufo Addo said knowledge and power are not the preserve of the elite, hence it was imperative to ensure that all children of school-going age are educated.
President Akufo-Addo added that government will accept any constructive criticism to improve the programme.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh says as part of government’s Free SHS policy, the capitation grant, as well as feeding grant and other arrears, will be duly honoured.
He said for the first time in the history of the country, students would not have to pay fees before they start school.
He was also speaking at the launch of the Free SHS policy in Accra.
The debate over the source of funding for the Free SHS program has raged on for a long time, causing top government officials to contradict themselves in some instances.
Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, had said the government would use money from the Heritage Fund to fund the policy, but this was been heavily criticised.
Critics say the Heritage Fund was meant for the use by future generations.
But Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, subsequently announced that contrary to Mr. Osafo-Maafo’s claims, the program will be funded with the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA).
The policy is estimated cost government in excess of GH¢400 million to implement, for just the 2017/2018 academic year.