Ghana’s Free SHS Policy Is Not Well Targeted – IMF

Ghana’s Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum with some students

Ghana’s free senior high school policy has been criticized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for not being sufficiently targeted, despite the fact that it has increased enrollment.

“Ghana spends close to 4 percent of GDP on education with good results in terms of enrolment but poor learning outcomes. The flagship programme Free Senior High School (SHS), which covers the full cost of secondary education, has helped increase enrolment but is poorly targeted,” IMF said in a country report released ahead of the approval of the country’s $3 billion bailout.

In addition, the report noted that:

“potential improvement of education spending include strengthening primary education resources, better teacher training, and stronger performance-based funding practices.”

Meanwhile, former President John Dramani Mahama has on a few events expressed that the next NDC government under his administration will review the free SHS strategy.

Since its launch in 2017, the government has spent more than GH10 billion on free SHS.

On Health, the IMF said Ghana’s National Health Insurance policy which was expected to be universal covers only half of the population.

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According to the report, despite Ghana’s relatively good performance in terms of health outcomes, access disparities remain a major issue.

Although it is intended to be universal, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) only covers half of the population. Increasing NHIS coverage, securing its long-term funding, and expanding its basic care package are identified as reform priorities.

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