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Free SHS gets GHC1.2 billion in 2018 budget

The government plans to allocate some GH¢1.2 billion to the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme in 2018. The amount is three times higher than the GH¢400 million that was allocated to the programme in its first year of implementation in 2017.

Next year’s allocation is to be announced Wednesday, when the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, presents the 2018 Budget and Economic Policy Statement to Parliament. The amount is expected to benefit over 100,000 students compared to this year, when the GH¢400 million catered the needs of some 424,092 students.

President Nana Akufo-Addo said the implementation of the Free SHS policy was to break the gap between the educated elite and the illiterate poor, by enabling poor children in society to attain some level of education.

The policy is one of the government’s flagship programmes meant to support the socially vulnerable. Its implementation will represent a landmark victory for the government, given that it featured prominently in the lead up to the 2016 general elections, which brought the New Patriotic Party to power.

Although the president has repeatedly said the Free SHS policy will be funded from oil resources, it is not clear if next year’s allocations are drawn entirely from revenue accrued from oil and gas.

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