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5.7m students have benefited from free SHS policy since 2017 — Eduwatch

Education think tank, Africa Education Watch, has revealed that about 5.7 million students have so far benefited from the free Senior High School policy from the 2017/18 to 2022/23 academic year.

Free SHS

Eduwatch in a report stated that since the inception of the free SHS policy in 2017, enrolment in secondary schools has increased from 813,448 in the 2016/17 academic year to 1.3 million in 2022/23 academic year.

It said an average of 422,940 students were enrolled annually compared to an average of 260,490 annual enrolments for the last six years before the policy.

It said Between the 2019/20 and 2022/23 academic years, 194,862 candidates did not honour their admissions at first instance into second cycle schools.

Touching on the government's allocation and expenditure, Eduwatch said between the 2017/23 and 2023/24 academic years, a total of GH¢12.88 billion was allocated to the free SHS policy, averaging GH¢ 1.84 billion annually, between the 2017/21 and 2021/22 academic years, GH¢5.3 billion was expended on the policy, averaging GH¢1.06 billion a year adding that in nominal terms, the annual budgetary allocation to the free SHS policy increased by 639 percent – from GH¢400 million in 2017 academic year to GH¢2.95 billion in 2023 academic year.

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However, adjusting for inflation within the period reduces the increment to 443 per cent (GH¢352.8 million in 2017 to GH¢1.91 billion in 2023).

It also urged the government to reconsider its Free SHS policy, proposing that parents opting to have their children reside in the boarding house should be responsible for covering the associated fees.

Here's the full report of Eduwatch

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