Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has said the Akufo-Addo government has no intention of touching the Heritage Fund to bankroll the Free Senior High School policy.
“We are not going to touch the Heritage Fund to be able to support the free SHS education,” Ofori-Atta told Accra-based Joy FM.
Mr Ofori-Atta’s clarification follows a comment by Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Marfo that the government may rely on the oil kitty to fund the Free SHS policy.
Mr Osafo Marfo stated at a forum in Accra on Tuesday 14 February that: “We have to make an amendment to say that X per cent of the Heritage Fund, or the Petroleum Fund will be used to support second cycle education. If we think that industry requires a certain stimulus that will enable jobs to be created and you are creating a job to build Ghana, you can look at it and put in a certain amount. We are [also] looking at agriculture.”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently assured Ghanaians that his government “will fund the cost of public Senior High Schools for all those who qualify for entry from the 2017/2018 academic year onwards”.
Spelling out the details of the policy, “so that no one in Ghana is left in any doubt”, President Akufo-Addo explained: “By Free SHS, we mean that, in addition to tuition, which is already free, there will be no admission fees, no library fees, no science centre fees, no computer lab fees, no examination fees, no utility fees; there will be free textbooks, free boarding and free meals, and day students will get a meal at school for free.”
The president added: “Free SHS will also cover agricultural, vocational and technical institutions at the high school level. I also want to state clearly again that we have a well thought-out plan that involves the building of new public senior high schools and cluster public senior high schools”.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, February 11, 2017, when, as the Special Guest of Honour, he delivered a speech at the 60th anniversary celebration of Okuapeman School.
On Thursday, the Minority in Parliament said it will resist the use of the Fund to fund the programme scheduled to start in September this year.