The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has responded to the International Monetary Fund‘s (IMF) characterization of the government's Free Senior High School (SHS) program as poorly targeted.
He emphasized that from the beginning, the government made it clear that the Free SHS program would be available to all students who passed the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), without exclusion.
“In the beginning, the government clearly stated that we were not going to implement the Free Senior High School program by targeting certain individuals and excluding others. We made it clear that all those who qualified for senior high school would be beneficiaries. Therefore, it is not surprising if someone now expresses the view that the targeting is poor because we ourselves have stated from the start that we are not going to start off by targeting anybody,” Minister Nkrumah explained during an interview on JoyFM's midday news.
He further elaborated that while designing the program, the government's focus was on achieving maximum impact. The Minister's comments were made in response to the IMF's recent country report on Ghana, which approved the country's request for a $3 billion bailout.
The report described the Free SHS program as poorly targeted, despite acknowledging its contribution to increased enrollment.
Mr Nkrumah emphasized that the program is still in its early stages and is open to all eligible students. However, he noted that in subsequent years, it will be subject to review and potential adjustments.
“If we compare it to what some states in America did, they started in a similar manner, and as the years went by, they implemented more targeted measures. That is exactly what we have announced since March 21, 2022,” he added.
The Information Minister further stated that all sixteen flagship programs would undergo reviews going forward. This would allow for potential amendments and retargeting to ensure maximum efficiency.