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Capitation Grant Challenged…As Basic Schools Still Slaps Extra Fees And Charges   
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Even though parents generally find the capitation grant very relevant, they are not satisfied with its implementation, according the National Development Planning Commission’s [NDPC] ‘citizens’ Assessment Report on the Capitation Grant Scheme 2014.’

The report noted that parents, notwithstanding the grant, are still made to pay levies such as examination fees, and sports and culture levies.

Only about 40 percent of parents consider the capitation to have had a positive impact on the quality of education.

The capitation grant scheme, according to the views of teachers, has increased enrollment and improvement in the availability of teaching and learning materials.

In sharp contrast, the report indicated that about 70 percent of head-teachers perceived the capitation grant to have had a generally positive impact on quality education.

However, the report stated that there are a number of concerns, including concerns from teachers that the release of the capitation grant to the schools unduly delays.

The grant, although has increased enrolment in schools but the delay tendencies and the headache head-teachers went through in accessing the grants are likely to collapse the scheme since quality delivery of education is undermined.

This and the undue delays in the release of the grant are some of the reasons why some schools still charges levies to fill the gap and to be able to keep the school running.

According to the report, some head-teachers misapply the grants because the teachers, in some instances, have limited understanding of the capitation grant scheme.

Even some head-teachers get confused about what the capitation grant can and cannot be used for, the report added.

The introduction of the school capitation grant scheme in 2004, which currently allocates a GHc4.50 per child enrolled to a school, is an intervention aimed at lessening the burden of the numerous levies and fees charged at the school level which are thought to prevent a considerable number of parents from enrolling their children in school, especially in the rural deprived areas.

NDPC, at a launch ceremony in Accra, invited other stakeholders and CSOs to examine the overall objectives of the survey and access whether the capitation grant is achieving the objective of eliminating extra fees and charges at the basic school level, at least from the perspective of the citizenry.

The Minister for Education, Professor Nana Jane Opoku Agyemang said the report although has revealed the positive impact of the capitation grant, but has also revealed some key challenges.
For instance, she noted, one of the key challenges facing the capitation grant during implementation, relates to delays in releases of funds basically due to fiscal and economic conditions, often unforeseen and unplanned.

According to her, delay or failure of teachers to submit their records on time for payments affects the programming of such payments in the budget.

She added that most often, figures provided by several entities conflict depending on who actually submits the required data and as a result programming becomes difficult with varying requests, depending on the purpose for the submission of data.

“We have realised that there is a problem with data collection coupled with the challenge of getting accurate data from the various sources for various purposes,” she stated.

According to her, the authorities tend to give different enrolment figures for various programmes and activities.

The sector Minister added that in the quest to promote transparency and accountability, they wish to propose that the Ministry of Education and GES, should enforce the publication of the income and expenditure account on the Capitation grant on notice boards in all beneficiary schools as done in Kenya.

She urged the Ministry of Education and GES to apply the financial administration act and regulations in the management of the capitation grant.

The Director General for NDPC, Dr. Nii Moi Thompson said one will wonder why the choice of capitation grant as the area of focus under this study after three of such surveys have been conducted in 2002, 2005 and 2008 on thematic areas of the medium-term national development policy frameworks.

He noted that the capitation grant was introduced to relieve households, especially those who are poor, of the burden of paying different types of levies, fees and charges at the basic education level in public schools.

Dr. Nii Moi Thompson added that to provide comprehensive assessment to aid policy discourse and decision making, 10years after its introduction, NDPC and its partners decided to focus on the capitation grant as the area of study.

According to him, it will also help government to assess the extent to which the medium-term education sector policy objective of “increasing equitable access to, and participation in education at all levels”, is being achieved.

The survey report, which started in November 2014, is a collaborative effort of NDPC, the Ministry of Education [MOE], Ghana Education Service [GES] and Ghana Statistical Service [GSS], and with support from Unicef.

Source: Modern Ghana

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