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PIAC chairperson says school funding from oil revenue is unsustainable

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The Chairman of Ghana’s Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr Steve Manteaw, has called for the reviewal of oil revenue being used to fund high scholars.

Speaking at forum of editors and journalists of some selected Ghanaian media houses on Saturday, 24 August 2019, at Senchi in the Eastern Region, Yaw stated that although the Free Senior High School policy has been widely hailed, it is simply unsustainable. While acknowledging the benefits associated with it, such as increasing enrolment at the secondary school level, he said its sustainability could not be guaranteed by using proceeds from crude oil to fund it.

Dr Manteaw Yaw said there should be a review on the funding mechanism because if there is a fall in oil prices at the world market as it happened in 2015 and 2016, the government will be unable to send the children to school.

He said in 2014, oil prices soared close to 100 dollars per barrel and the country realized an amount of 900 million dollars.

However, the trend changed as oil prices fell to their lowest ebb at 27 dollars per barrel, reducing the total revenue to 200 million dollars.

According to Dr Manteaw Yaw, the fluctuation in crude oil prices presents a great challenge to the free senior high school education policy and said it it was high time government reviewed the policy to meet external shocks in the future.

The PIAC Chairman therefore suggested that other public and private entities which are already supporting students with scholarship be brought on board to assist in financing the policy.

For instance, he mentioned the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOB) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) which are already sponsoring students on scholarship could be brought on board to support the policy.

PIAC is a civil society organisation that is championing the cause of using oil revenue by government to the benefit of all Ghanaians.

The government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), headed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, introduced the free Senior High School education in September 2017 in fulfilment of a 2016 election campaign promise.

The programme has been hailed by some Ghanaians, but its implementation is affecting other sectors such as health and construction, among others, as all its funds are allegedly channelled to the education sector.

Other institutions have also called for a review of the policy to enable those who can afford their children’s school fees to pay but government is adamant that it should be footing the scholarship bills

– APA

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