The Chairman of Ghana’s Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC), Dr. Steve Mantey Yaw says the use of oil revenue to fund high school students in the country is not sustainable and must be reviewed to meet realistic expectations.Speaking at forum of editors and journalists of some selected Ghanaian media houses on Saturday at Senchi in the Eastern Region, Yaw stated category that although the Free Senior High School policy has been widely hailed looking at the benefits associated with it such as increasing enrollment at the secondary school level, its sustainability could not be guaranteed by using proceeds from crude oil to fund it.
Dr. Mantey 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 per barrel and the country realized an amount of $900million.
However, the trend changed as oil prices fell to their lowest ebb at $27.00 per barrel, reducing the total revenue to $200 million.
According to Dr Mantey 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 fulfillment of a 2016 election campaign promise.
The programme has been hailed by some Ghanaians but its implementation is affecting other sectors such as health, construction among others as all its funds are allegedly channeled 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