Challenging Heights calls on overnment to release the capitation grants before re-opening of basic schools

By James Kofi Annan
Press Statement Challenging Heights calls on overnment to release the capitation grants before re-opening of basic schools
SEP 5, 2022 LISTEN

Challenging Heights is calling on the government to release all outstanding arrears of the Capitation Grant, to public basic schools, ahead of school re-opening this September. This will mitigate the frustrations currently being faced by heads of those basic schools.

Public basic schools are due to re-open for the third term for the 2022 academic year, and there are reports that all public basic schools are owed capitation grants, reportedly in excess of GHC300million.

The Capitation Grant was introduced in the 2003/2004 academic year, to offer Free, Compulsory, Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) for all school going children of Ghana, in fulfilment of Article 25(1)(a) of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, which states that, “basic education shall be free, compulsory, and available to all”. The scheme was therefore introduced to replace all fees paid by parents in public basic schools, in order to expand access, and to support school performance improvement efforts, by the schools.

Currently the government pays GHC10 per child per term. However, the delay in releasing the funds is essentially eroding its intended benefits on Ghana’s educational system.

There are reports that the delay in releasing the funds is forcing heads of some basic schools to levy parents to help run their schools. There are also reports that many headteachers are requesting their district directors to relieve them of their positions to ordinary teachers, owing to the perennial financial constraints and frustrations they go through because of the undue delays in the release of the grant. This is a newly discovered phenomenon in some districts, which has the tendency of derailing efforts to improve teacher motivation.

A report by Challenging Heights (June 2022) indicates that there are over 60% of children living along Lake Volta are in child labor. Child Labor is one of the problems the Capitation Grant is meant to address.

The Capitation Grants paid by the government were to cover general stationery and management, office machinery, first aid, building maintenance, sporting fees, cultural fees, sanitation fees, furniture and tools, textbook user fees, practical fees, as well as machinery for technical schools and institutions.

Given the directive by the Ghana Education Service to head teachers not to charge levies and pre-finance activities under their supervision, we would in addition, wish to advocate for a relook at the financial framework of the grant. Challenging Heights is calling on government to put in place measures to have a sustainable means of generating funds to support the management and administration of basic schools, amid the persistent unreliable inflow of the grant, especially at impoverished settlements with high illiteracy rates.

James Kofi Annan