Challenging Heights, a child-focused NGO, is calling on the government to release all outstanding capitation grant arrears to state basic schools before they reopen.
According to the organization, this will alleviate the frustrations currently faced by principals of fundamental schools.
Challenging Heights President James Kofi Annan explained that basic public schools are due to reopen for the third term of the 2022 school year, and there are reports that all basic public schools are receiving capitation grants , which would exceed GHC300. million.
The capitation grant was introduced in the 2003/2004 school year to provide free, compulsory and universal basic education (FCUBE) to all children attending school in Ghana, in accordance with Article 25 (1) (a ) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which states that “basic education shall be free, compulsory and available to all”.
The program was therefore introduced to replace all fees paid by parents in basic public schools, in order to expand access and support schools’ efforts to improve academic performance.
Currently, the government pays GHC 10 per child per term. However, the intended benefits of the funds to Ghana’s education system are essentially undermined by the delay in their release.
The information available reveals that the delay in the release of funds forces the directors of some basic schools to levy parents to help manage their schools.
Reportedly, many headteachers are asking their district directors to remove them from their posts and replace them with regular teachers due to ongoing financial difficulties and frustrations caused by unjustified grant delays. In some districts, this phenomenon has only recently been identified and tends to undermine teachers’ motivation efforts.
A report from Challenging Heights in June 2022 indicated that there are over 60% of school-aged children living along Lake Volta who are in child labor. Child labor is one of the problems the block grant aims to address.
Jams Kofi Annan added that: “The capitation grants paid by the government were to cover general stationery and management costs, office machinery, first aid, building maintenance, sporting costs, cultural costs, sanitation fees, furniture and tools, fees for the use of textbooks, practical tuition fees, as well as machinery for technical schools and institutions.
He added that given the Ghana Education Service’s directive to headteachers not to charge levies and to pre-fund activities under their supervision, his organization further wishes to advocate for an overhaul of the financial framework of the grant.
“Government should put in place measures to have a sustainable means of generating funds to support the management and administration of basic schools, amid the persistent and unreliable influx of grant, especially in poor settlements with high illiteracy rates,” he said.