The Ghanaian government will spend 400 million cedis or 95 million US dollars on its flagship free senior high school program to be rolled out next academic year that begins in September, Minister of Education Matthew Opoku Prempeh said here on Thursday.

Addressing the media in Accra, Prempeh said free secondary education would imply the absorption of all approved fees currently charged to students in public senior high schools as well as vocational and technical institutions.

The flagship program of the government is open to Ghanaian basic school leavers who have been placed by the Computerized School Selection Placement System (CSSPS) into a public-funded second cycle institution.

According to official figures, over 140,000 students, on average, are either not placed by the CSSPS or are placed but do not enroll largely due to financial barriers every year.

Out of the number placed by the CSSPS yearly, over 25 percent do not enroll.

The minister said the program would address such inequalities and ensure equal opportunities for all students through the removal of cost barriers.

“It will also enable students who otherwise would have terminated at the junior high level to acquire functional and employable skills through the acquisition of secondary education,” he said.

Beneficiaries of this program will enjoy it for three years.

The free SHS policy was one of the campaign promises of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) during the last electioneering campaigns.

However, critics say the initiative will drain the country’s resources. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/