A report of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) says about 10 per cent of children of school going age absent themselves from school due to their inability to pay some levies or fees.
The report said despite the capitation grant, public schools still levy fees such as examination, extra classes, sports and culture, computer (ICT fees), capital development levies, utility bills (water and electricity) and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) levies.
On the average, the report said a child in the public basic school paid an amount of GHC45.00 per term whiles in the urban areas such as the Greater Accra Region, a child pays a total of about GHC200.00 in levies per term.
It said examination fees and collection (offerings) during worship days were very high among all the levies charged and it cuts across through the primary and Junior High Schools (JHS), with as high as GHC80.00 being paid per child as examination fees in most public schools.
The capitation grant was introduced in 2004 on a pilot basis and was scaled up nationwide in 2005 as a mechanism to lessen the burden of paying fees and levies of parents to achieve the long term policy objective of equitable access to education by all Ghanaian children.
Nana Opare Gyan, Head of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit of the NDPC, who presented findings of the survey to stakeholders in Koforidua, said averagely, the combined levies charged per child in the public schools was over six times the capitation grant of GHC4.50 per child.
He said some schools even charged funeral fees from parents and explained that, the rationale for the survey was to ascertain whether the capitation grant was achieving its target of equitable access to education by all children.
Nana Gyan said per the findings, the key objective of the capitation grant in eliminating payments of levies and fees, which constituted impediments on the way of education, had not been fully achieved.
He said delays in releasing the capitation grants and high transaction cost in assessing the grants was part of the reasons for charging other levies in fees in a bid to keep the schools running by the heads.
Nana Gyan said in the absence of the grant, heads of the basic schools relied heavily on the PTA dues and other levies, however, over 80 per cent of respondents in the survey admitted that, the capitation grant was relevant but needed improvement in its implementation.
Mr Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere, the Eastern Regional Minister, who opened the stakeholders meeting, said the motive of the survey was not to indict any stakeholder but to deepen the understanding of the essence and impact of the capitation grant to shape future policies regarding education.
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