FINANCING FOR EQUITY
1. Overall Education Financing Mechanisms
2. Policies and Programmes to Provide Resources to Schools
3. Education Policies and Programmes to Provide Resources to Sudents and Families
4. Social Policies and Programmes to Provide Resources to Students and their Families
In Ghana, basic education (9 years) is free, compulsory and available to all persons and the government is responsible to provide sc hool buildings, teachers and teaching materials. Secondary education is progressively free since 2017 (Free Senior High School Policy (SHS)), the government is responsible for covering admission and examination registration fees, library and laboratory charges, textbooks and exercise books, teaching and learning materials, school uniforms (but not sandals), PTA, other administrative costs, as well as one meal for day students.
The budget from public agencies include the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF), the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETF), and the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA), which is an oil-revenue fund that finances education infrastructure. The DACF and the GETF are statutory funds earmarked for education. However, GET Fund financing has fluctuated over the years, from almost 15% of total education funding in 2011 to 3% in 2014 and 8.7% in 2015.
The Ghana Education Trust (GetFund-2001) supports education services at all levels with supplementary finance provision to multiple initiatives throughout the country from infrastructure investments to transportation service provision, including grants and subsidies. Some of the projects financed by the trust are the provision of buses for all Girls Secondary Schools, the contribution to grants for the Students Loan Scheme, and funding to school textbook. In 2017, the amounts distributed into accounts of tertiary education and secondary education, basic education institutions added up to USD153m (GHS 790.2m).
The Capitation Grant Scheme (2005) funds the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education policy (Fcube). Every public kindergarten, primary school and junior secondary school is entitled to receive a grant of about USD 3.30 (GHS 30,000) per pupil per year. This allocation does not follow a clear funding formula by regions and districts to address the persistent geographical gaps in per pupil non-wage funding levels. In 2010, the government introduced the Decentralization Policy Framework, seeking to better allocate funding at the Metropolitan, Municipal and Districts levels by involving local communities.
The responsibilities of budget expenditure rely on different institutions. The Ministry of Finance establishes the overall budget and defines remuneration for education staff including teachers. The GET Fund finances infrastructure investment. The Ghana Education Service (GES) manages recurrent expenditures and determines the appropriate number of primary and secondary teachers, while the National Council on Tertiary Education formulates the tertiary education budget. Finally, the MoE is responsible for allocating donor funds and proposing the annual budget to the government.
The MOE also works with the Metropolitan Municipal District Assemblies (MMDAs) to provide programs targeted to basic education level. This funding comes from the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) and it is at the discretion of each District Assembly how much to allocate to education, based on local needs. About 80% of District Assembly spending on education goes to infrastructure improvements which complements the rehabilitation and construction that is funded under the MOE budget. In addition to infrastructure, the MMDAs spends their remaining education funding in supporting scholarships and bursaries for pupils, and in the provision of additional teaching and learning materials and resources for basic schools. A small part of the DACF allocation is for MPs to initiate and expand development projects in their constituencies including expanding and improving education.
Additionally, within the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the Ghana school Feeding programme (GSFP) provides children at public pre-primary and primary schools with one meal per day, The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoPDC) arranges implementation of the Ghana School Feeding Program through district assemblies. This program falls within the 2015 National School Feeding Policy to provide disadvantaged schoolchildren with food and to ensure sustainable financing complementing public commitments by multiple financing mechanisms from local authorities, private sector, financial institutions and communities. In 2018, the program received an allocation of USD 69.5m (GHS 358.3m) or 0.11% of the GDP. In 2015, the program reached 3,000 schools and about 1.3 million pupils benefited from a daily meal at their school, approximately 30% of students in basic education.
In 2015, the national budget funded the majority of education spending, and its share has increased in recent years. Donor financing represented 4.6 % and internally generated funds, 18.5%. In 2017, the total expenditure allocated to education was USD 2.02 billion (GHS 10.5billion) or 3.62% of its GDP or 20.1% of the public expenditure. There are 12.3m school aged people in Ghana.
The 2018-2030 Education Sector Plan
Across all grade levels, schools in poor districts and rural areas have fewer qualified teachers and textbooks than wealthier urban ones. The new Education Sector Plan has among its policy objectives, one on “improved equitable access to education” that applies to basic education, secondary, Non Formal Education (NFE), TVET, inclusive education, and tertiary. In Basic Education for example, the capitation grant to basic schools has doubled to include a base grant and a per capita assignment. Likewise, the Complementary Basic Education (CBE) programme provides education in communities to out-of-school children to allow them to transition into mainstream. Furthermore, the new plan has targeted social interventions, such as the provision of school uniforms and the School Feeding Programme. In 2018, each objective allocates a portion of budgets to address disadvantaged population.
Inclusive and Special Education Budget programme: is one programme of the new sector plan that finances the provision of education for learners with special, physical and mental needs. The program seeks to integrate children with special needs into the formal system or in special schools as well as provide services to ensure the access of disadvantage children to basic and second education. In 2015, only 0.6% of total recurrent education expenditure was spent on inclusive and special education. In 2017, the total expenditure allocated to education was USD 2.02bn (GHS 10.5bn), of which USD 7.9 million (GHS 40.8m) or 0.4% was allocated to Special Education Schools. For 2019, a constant amount of USD1.8 million (GHS 9.3m) will be annually allocated to this programme from 2019 to 2022. In 2019, this amount will correspond to 0.08% of the total amount of expenditure for education2.
The Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy (2017)
Aims to remove the cost burden to education to families and increase enrolment rates at secondary education level. Every child enrolled in a Public Second Cycle Institution is eligible to benefit for a three-year scholarship for secondary education. The Policy provides One-Time Fee Items for 1st Year students consisting of: USD 85 (GHS 435) per day, all recurrent fee items consisting of USD20 (GHS 101) per day, feeding fees, 3 meals for boarders of USD 1 (GHS 4.80) per day, and 1 hot meal for all day students USD 0.3 (GHS 1.60) per day. In 2017, about USD 540m (GHS 2.7bn) or 26.4% of the total education expenditure were allocated to the program. In the same year, the program reached 787,861 students or 6.36% of the school aged population.
The Students Loan Trust Fund (2005)
Is a program of the Scholarships Secretariat funded partly by the GET fund that provides financial aid to tertiary students who will pursue undergraduate programmes. Donors’ contributions, allows the provision of scholarships to students in second cycle institutions based on merit and hardship and to post-graduates trained in public tertiary institutions with the aim to increase equitable access to and participation in quality education at all levels. This program has been beneficial in increasing access for financially disadvantaged groups but it faces funding challenges in financing loans for all students. Financial aid provided by universities complements the trust funding. Many initiatives are in place to address access and equity challenges in tertiary education, however, most of these initiatives are specific to each institution (such as public universities’ financial aid and affirmative action programs for female and disadvantage students) and are not coordinated or standardized. In 2015, USD 4.01m (GHS 22m) were allocated to 23,298 students and in 2017, the fund spent USD1.3m (GHS 7.5m)
The Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) Programme is a cash transfer programme of the the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, implemented since 2008 to curb extremely poverty and provide financial assistance to specific vulnerable households, such as orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) and persons with severe disability without any productive capacity. Among its objectives, the LEAP aims to promote access to, attendance and retention in basic education of beneficiary children between 5 and 15 years old.
In 2018, the budget allocation was of USD 129.3m (GHS 738m) or 0.19%3 of the GDP and benefited 456,000 or 1.58% of the total population. In 2019, the budget allocation is expected to be for USD 65.7m (GHS 338m).