Mr Mohammed Amin Adam, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance, has addressed the cumulative amount invested in the government’s Free Senior High School (SHS) Programme.
He stated that the actual investment by the end of 2021 was GH¢5.3 billion, contrary to the reported figure of GH¢7.62 billion.
Speaking in Parliament on behalf of Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister for Finance, Mr Adam provided clarification in response to a question from Mr Clement Abas Apaak, an MP for Builsa South from the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Mr Adam explained, “We invested GH¢3.2 billion to implement Free SHS, resulting in over 1.2 million teenagers being in secondary school now, looking forward to better opportunities in life. For their parents and families, this has translated into GH¢2.2 billion in savings.”
The inquiry from Mr Apaak focused on the significant increase in the investment amount for the Free SHS Programme, which was reported as GH¢7.62 billion in the 2021 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review, compared to the GH¢3.2 billion mentioned in the 2020 Mid-Year Review of the Budget Statement and Economic Policy.
Mr Adam clarified that the 2021 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review discussed the financing sources for the Free SHS Programme, aligning with the government’s commitment to budget transparency. He stated, “Over the years, GH¢7.62 billion has been allocated to implement the Free SHS Programme.”
The increase in allocation, he explained, was due to the growth in cohorts and enrollment. The total enrollment in the 2017/2018 academic year was 362,108, which increased to 432,791 in the 2018/2019 academic year. By the 2021/2022 academic year, enrollment reached 465,242, leading to subsequent increases in allocations.
Mr Adam emphasized that the cumulative allocation did not necessarily reflect the amount spent and invested in the Free SHS Programme due to revenue performance and the non-alignment of financial and academic years. Reconciliation was required before full payments were made in the following financial year.
Highlighting the positive impact of the Free SHS Programme, Mr Adam shared the 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination results. Compared to 2016, there was an improvement in the percentage of students achieving A1-C6 grades in English, Integrated Science, Mathematics, and Social Studies.
He stated, “As a result of this transformational and inclusive government intervention, about 2 million young people have either found a pathway to further education, training, apprenticeships, employment, and a potentially prosperous future.”
Mr Adam emphasized that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo prioritized the protection of the sovereign rights of the people to pursue dignified and fulfilling lives. The government aimed to equip young people with the necessary skills to achieve social mobility and succeed in the global marketplace.
He concluded, “The government believes that the Free SHS Policy sets a solid foundation for our young people to compete in the global marketplace and reach even higher heights by the grace of God.”