The heads of schools also called for the timely release of funds from the authorities to ensure consistency in vetting the grant applications from schools to enhance transparency and improve service delivery.
This was contained in a survey report on the Capitation Grant Scheme launched by the National Development Planning Commission with support fras1om the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Accra.The objective of the report is to eliminate special levies and other charges at the basic school level, at least from the perspective of the citizens and remove barriers to access to quality basic education.
Under the capitation grant scheme, public basic schools in the country are entitled to receive GHc 4.50 per enrolled pupil per academic year to be used for the day-to-day running of the school.
Dr Clement Adamba, a Researcher presenting the report at the launch, said the results showed that while the grant had eliminated payment of some of the levies and charges, the overwhelming majority of households still paid a variety of levies and charges for their children attending basic school.
“Even among the poorest 20 per cent of the population, three out of four household pay levies and charges to enable their attend public basic schools”, he added.
He noted that, the report showed that about 85 per cent of all households who had children in public pre-schools indicated that they paid some form of levies and charges, while at the public primary schools level, 75 per cent of the households said they paid some levies and charges.
Dr Adamba said from the schools’ perspective, the capitation grant constituted only 38 per cent of the total expenditure of a school in the 2012/2013 academic year, implying that public basic schools had to cover more than 60 per cent of their budgetary requirements from other sources.
He said the report also identified a number of key challenges that hindered the effective implementation of the scheme at the basic school level, including delays in the release of funds, inconsistencies in the application and management procedures, and high transaction costs.
Dr Adamba explained that a total of 2,245 households and 441 public basic schools were sampled from 151 enumeration areas and 20 districts across the country.
Dr Kwesi Botchwey, Chairman of the NPDC said the report formed part of government’s efforts to assess the impact of developmental policies from the perspective of the citizenry and determine whether there had been an improvement in their lives with focus on policy objectives of the country’s Shared Growth and Development Agenda.
Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, the Minister of Education said government introduced the capitation grant in 2004 on a pilot basis and scaled it up nationwide in 2005 with a per capital amount of GHc3.00 after an assessment indicated a significant increase in basic school enrollment.
She said the current grant amount of GHc 4.50 was introduced in 2009 and implemented across the country for the 2011/2012 academic year.
Madam Sarah Hauge, Chief of Social Policy, UNICEF said the report provided solid evidence for effective measurement and would help support the country’s national social protection policy to achieve the full potential of the educational sector.