Review of Free SHS constantly on the table – Ken Ofori-Atta

A reassessment of the government’s free senior high school policy, according to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, is always a possibility.

He notes that the Education Minister is still examining the policy in order to determine how parents can be included without coercion.

Mr. Ofori-Atta in an interview with George Wiafe of ‘Joy Business’ said “Review is constantly a possibility on the table. And it’s just to make sure that the appropriate education is given and that wastage is eliminated and it goes to give us value for money.” 

The Finance Minister is the second member of the public to have lately admitted as much.

Prof. Kwasi Opoku Amankwah, the director general of the GES, had earlier made such a declaration but afterwards sought to clarify it was not what he intended to say.

In spite of seeking support from the IMF, the Ministry of Finance stated earlier this month that the policy will not be halted.

However, it was underlined that the IMF would be concerned about a potential financial shortfall as well as the government’s capacity to continue spending.

“Free SHS, the School Feeding programme, among others, are good social intervention programmes and it is the lack of financing and unsustainable debt burdens that could constrain a government’s ability to maintain its level of spending, including social or investment spending.

“In our situation, the IMF may ask Ghana to consider curtailing lower priority or non- productive spending (such as “white elephant” projects) as part of its fiscal adjustment but to preserve priority social spending, including on health and education.” the statement said on Thursday.

On the business edition of PM Express, Mr. Ofori Atta discussed the objectives of the constant review.

“We have maybe scholarship schemes that maybe you have to prove that you need a scholarship. We can get very sophisticated about that to ensure that you draw in parents in a way that is not coercive but never compromising on a citizen who is less than 18 years is able to get education.”

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