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    Govt finally agrees to ‘touch’ Free SHS under IMF requirements

    The government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in a significant development, has unequivocally announced its intention to review the flagship Free Senior High School (Free SHS) program. This revelation is outlined in the latest report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding Ghana’s US$3 billion bailout programme.

    Contained on page 76 of the comprehensive 155-page report under the section titled ‘PUBLIC SPENDING EFFICIENCY,’ the government discussed recalibrating the expenditure portfolio of Municipal and District Assemblies (MDAs) responsible for social spending.

    Specifically addressing education, the report states: “In the education sector, we will review and rationalize the Free Senior High School (SHS) program.”

    This move is part of a broader strategy to shift the spending composition of MDAs towards targeted and well-designed interventions.

    The report, dated December 18, 2023, titled “STAFF REPORT FOR THE 2023 ARTICLE IV CONSULTATION, FIRST REVIEW UNDER THE ARRANGEMENT UNDER THE EXTENDED CREDIT FACILITY, REQUEST FOR MODIFICATION OF PERFORMANCE CRITERIA, AND FINANCING ASSURANCES REVIEW,” sheds light on the government’s commitment to a thorough assessment of public sector wages, with a focus on the education and health sectors.

    Contrary to previous assertions, the government, led by the education minister, has now acknowledged the need for a review of the Free SHS program.

    The report emphasizes the objective of improving overall learning outcomes, including targeted measures to enhance foundational learning and continued support for tertiary education.

    This announcement comes amid recent exchanges between the government and former president John Dramani Mahama, who had pledged to review the Free SHS if elected in 2025. While the government has previously argued against the need for a review, the latest stance signals a shift towards recognizing the necessity for improvements in the Free SHS policy.


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