Kofi Asare, Executive Director of Africa Education Watch

Executive Director of the Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, says government spends between GHS1.3bn to GHS1.4bn every year to feed students in Senior High Schools under the Free SHS policy.

According to him, 70 per cent of government’s budget for the Free SHS policy is being spent on feeding students alone.

He explained this has caused challenges in food supplies to senior high schools due to the current liquidity challenges the government is facing.

“Because of our economic situation, because there are liquidity issues, what is happening is that the Ministry of Finance is unable to raise funds to fund both the feeding and un-feeding aspect, so fund delay is normal,” he said on Newsfile, Saturday.

He said while fund delays for other aspects of the budget could be managed, the huge amount spent on feeding cannot allow the government to manage the shortage of food supplies and feeding challenges.

“Those [fund delays] affecting feeding can hardly be managed because the children are in boarding houses, and so the delay in funding has caused suppliers who say their funds have been locked, so they do not have money to keep supplying a particular school or group of schools…when they supply you find out that they undersupply,” he explained.

Kofi Asare thus suggested to the government that parents of students from private junior high schools could be allowed to pay for their wards’ fees to save government some money to support the feeding challenges currently experienced.

“If we ask parents of private junior high school students to pay their free senior high school fees, the average free senior high school fee government is paying is GHC1,500 for a whole year, so if we have these parents who came from the private sector to pay their GHC1,500 for a whole year as Free SHS school fees, what will happen is that government will save GHC520m to support what we are now struggling to finance,” he said.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.