Incomprehensiveness of Capitation Grant increases truancy – Report

PupilsA survey conducted by the National Development Planning Commission on citizens’ assessment of the implementation of the Capitation Grant (CG) Scheme has proven that the incomprehensiveness of the Grant in basic schools makes children truants.

The 2014 report explained that the underlying fact that the Capitation Grant does not entirely support other levies aside tuition fees in basic schools as it is supposed to, leads to truancy of deprived children who are constantly sacked for their inability to pay levies.

The survey which was conducted by the Commission with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund to ascertain if the Grant is achieving the objective of eliminating extra fees and charges at the basic school level.

According to the report, students pay levies on examination, Parents Teachers Association, extra classes, collection, maintenance, capital development, sports, excursion, and funerals.

The report explained that a community focus group discussion across the regions showed that one of the factors that contributed to absenteeism was because the most painful punishment given to a child who is not able to pay his levies is isolation and “name calling” as well as stigmatisation by teachers.

“The rural urban difference suggests that the phenomenon of sending children home for non-payment of levies is higher in schools in rural communities than in urban schools”.

The finding emphasised that the amount paid by parents in special levies and charges at all levels of basic education thus, pre-school, primary and junior high school is at least 10 times greater than capitation grant paid per pupil.

Also, the impact of the capitation grant is relatively higher for poorer households and communities than the relatively affluent ones.

The total outcome of the survey revealed that the intervention of the Grant has eliminated the payment of tuition fees in basic schools and the secondary data gathered suggest that the intervention has led to an increase in school enrollment and attendance, now including children with disabilities.

Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, Greater Accra Regional Minister said the Commission has the responsibility to conduct different types of public hearings periodically to assess the impact of policies they formulate on the citizens.

He said the import of such policy evaluate is to enable policy actors appraise the effectiveness of the policy in terms of its perceived intentions and results by gathering feedback from the citizenry who are the ultimate beneficiaries.

“The objective of this exercise is therefore not to indict any person or group of persons for divulging information but rather to build consensus and also deepen our understanding of the policy cycle and determine whether to perpetuate the policy status quo or alter it”, he said.

The Regional Minister asked the public to assess whether the capitation grant has been useful to improving access to education, at least at the basic level; and whether it should be implemented in its current form; and as well contribute to the adjustments necessary to make it possible for citizens to derive the maximum impact from the scheme.

Mr Eben Anuwa-Amarh, Regional Representative of the Commission said the Capitation Grant Scheme was introduced by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports in 2005 with the ultimate aim of abolishing all school levies which hitherto, were a hindrance to access to basic education for most children.

Mr Anuma-Amarh said assessment allows the Commission to track progress and identify issues early during implementation, thus providing an opportunity to take corrective action or make proactive improvements as required.

He noted that the survey was the first to be conducted under the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda.

Source: GNA

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