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STATESMAN OPINION: Alleviating The Burden Of Parents   
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The unprecedented euphoria that greeted the maiden budget of the government of the New Patriotic Party, led by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, appeared to have kept out of the limelight some other notable reliefs to ameliorate the living conditions of ordinary Ghanaians impoverished by the harsh economic policies of the erstwhile administration of the National Democratic Congress.

In addition to the free Senior High School policy to be kick-started in September, this year, the government is also to lessen the financial burden of parents at the basic level of education.

As contained in the ‘Asempa budget’ recently presented to Parliament by the Finance Minister, Government will, from the next academic year, increase the capitation grant to public basic schools from the current GHC 4.50 to GHC 9, representing a 100% increase. Besides, government will fully absorb BECE registration fees and also continue to subsidize the registration fees of private JHS students.

The previous NPP government, led by John Agyekum Kufour, introduced free basic education with the disbursement of Capitation Grants with initial amount of GH.C 3.00 per pupil per academic year.

The amount was slightly increased to GH.C 4.50 by the last NDC government in 2009 but high cost of living rendered it insufficient, compelling schools to charge levies, making it difficult for children from poor backgrounds to participate fully in basic education. The situation was further compounded by the introduction of levies by District Assemblies to support the running of the schools.

The 2017 ‘Asempa’ Budget provides that “to make basic education truly free and ensure participation by all, Government will introduce the following measures from the first term of the 2017/2018 academic year: increase the Capitation Grant by 100 percent from GH.C 4.50.00 to 9.00 per child per annum; introduce equity in Government support to schools by restructuring disbursement of Capitation to introduce equal amount of Base Grant to be paid to all schools at the beginning of the academic year.”

It is significant to note that the determination of the Nana Akufo-Addo government to alleviate the financial burden of parents as far as education is concerned is no fluke, but a well thought-out and strong-willed plan. This is because the magnanimity of the government has gone beyond the usual government schools to private schools.

Consequently, the decision of government to significantly subsidize the BECE registration fees of private Junior High School students should not be underestimated but applauded. In consequence, the Daily Statesman commends the government for the kind gesture it has shown to the parents of children, both in the private or public schools.

We also appeal to school authorities to see it as a patriotic duty to help the government in its bid to relieve parents of the economic burden in taking care of their children’s education.

Accordingly, they should desist from introducing any form of costs to parents to wipe away the effects of the capitation grant, full absorption of the BECE examination fees of public schools, as well as the subsidy for students of private schools.

Source: The New Statesman

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