Free SHS Secretariat is a waste of public funds –Dr. Steve Manteaw

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A member of the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) and a policy analyst with the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Dr Steve Manteaw, says the setting up of a secretariat for the free Senior High School (SHS) programme is a waste of public funds.

“We need to be mindful to conserve resources if we want to be able to sustain the funding of free SHS, “he said.

He has advised the government to be mindful about the administrative nomenclature that it is using o back the scheme.

Dr Manteaw, who is also a Co-Chair of the Ghana Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), stressed the need for the government to harmonise the GETfund Secretariat with the free SHS programme.

The GETfund, he said, was established solely to facilitate the financing of education in this country.

Dr Mantew also said that there is the need to harmonise the free SHS resources with the GETfund resources which is 2.5% of Value Added Tax (VAT), urging that these resources must be put together in a common pot for disbursement.

The harmonisation of the two bodies in the education sector, Dr. Manteaw, emphasised, will do away with the cost of establishing different institutions in the same sector.

“That in itself helps you to avoid the duplicity of the cost of setting up different bureaucracies for free SHS and another one for the GETfund and again, more importantly, it helps citizens and also the state agencies to track the use of resources that are approved to the education sector,” he surmised.

There have been concerns that some persons could inflate enrolment figures in order to benefit financially from the system.

Dr Manteaw further urged the Ghana government to put in place mechanisms to ensure the possibility of creating ‘ghost’ students.

 “It is a possibility that is why I am urging that we put in place mechanisms to forestall this from happening. It also becomes a challenge for the interest groups that will be tracking the use of oil revenues particularly PIAC and its partners.

“We need to find ways of tracking the disbursements that go to finance the free SHS to ensure that there are no ‘ghost’ students in the list that is submitted by the education authorities,” he urged.

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