This academic year, the government will spend ¢165 billion as Capitation Grant under the fee-free policy for pupils in public basic schools nationwide, an increase of ¢15 billion over last year's ¢150 billion to take care of higher enrolment.
The 2007/2008 academic year, began on September 11.
The fee-free policy of GH¢3 (¢30,OOO) per child per year, covers culture, sports and school's internal development fees.
The Deputy Minister for Education, Science and Sports, responsible for Pre-Tertiary Education, Angelina Baiden-Amissah, made this known to the Times in Accra on Tuesday.
She explained that, the extra ¢15 billion is to cater for the anticipated increases in enrolment in schools. However, she could not give the exact number of children to benefit because "the schools have not submitted their returns on enrolment."
The Capitation Grant was introduced and initially piloted in 40 districts with World Bank funding during the 2004/2005 academic year.
It was at the beginning of the 2005/2006 academic year that it was extended to all basic schools countrywide with government funding.
Mrs. Baiden-Amissah stressed the need for heads of schools to make judicious use of the grant allocated to them and also to submit proper accounts on its usage.
She said that whereas some heads are making judicious use of the grant for development, others have contravened the guidelines governing its utilisation.
For example, at a school in the Kumasi metropolis, the head had used its share of the grant to re-roof parts of the school block destroyed by a rainstorm and repair broken chairs and tables.
She advised heads encountering problems in planning the utilisation of the grant to contact their district directors, for guidance.
Mrs. Baiden-Amissah said although the grant is paid directly into each school's accounts, individual heads are required to submit planned inputs for approval and release of the money.
The GH¢3 is disbursed as follows: 6Gp for sports, 3Gp for culture and GH¢2.1 for developmental needs of the schools.
On teacher provision, Mrs. Baiden-Amissah said at present, 21,788 serving untrained teachers are undergoing training through distance learning in basic education to enable them to acquire a diploma in Basic Education and at the same time, 11,000 serving certificate 'A' 2-year and 3-year teachers are also pursuing sandwich and distance education to upgrade themselves to earn Diploma in Education.
"It is envisaged that by 2015, all untrained and certificate 'A' teachers would have been up¬graded to diploma status," she emphasised.