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The Capitation Grant: Impact on enrollment of pupils in the Basic Education Schools in Ghana. A Case Study of some selected Junior High Schools in Sunyani Municipality
1.0 Background of the Study
The Government of Ghana committed itself to the achievement of Universal Primary Education (UPE) by ensuring that by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling. The government’s commitment towards achieving the educational goals is reflected in several policy frameworks and reports. In May 2003, for instance the Ministry of Education and Sports came out with the Education Strategy Plan (ESP) for 2003- 2015. The Education Strategy Plan (ESP) was informed by many documents and policy frameworks, especially the goals for Education for All the Millennium Development Goals (MGDs) and the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy. The Education Strategy Plan (ESP) serves as the framework by which Ghana meets its commitments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in education that is the Gender Parity by 2005 and Universal Primary Education by 2015.
Within the Education Strategy Plan (ESP), primary education is designated as a sector priority and various measures and decisions have been taken by the Government to accelerate its efforts in achieving the MDG 2 by 2015. Some of the measures taken include the institution of the Capitation Grant to all public basic schools, inclusion of pre-school education for children between the age of 4 to 5 years old as part the of the Free Compulsory Basic Education (FCUBE), the introduction of a school feeding programme, special programmes to bridge the gender gap in accessing education and targeted programmes to improve access in deprived area. All these efforts, it is believed will result in positive progress in the education sector, especially in the basic education. For example the government believes the primary school enrollment increased significantly as a result of the capitation grant and the waving of all remaining fees and levies. The Ghana Government also believes that the policy has helped bridge the gap between Gender enrollments in schools.
However, other researchers have been quick to point out some of the loopholes and challenges and have even doubted if the government could accomplish her vision of making education free for all. One school of thought asserts that the capitation grant will not be able to fulfill its natural promise of enhancing quality education; instead it will succeed in adding higher numbers to the already deplorable state of education in Ghana. Others also claim that the capitation grant has made schooling more accessible to households but food and uniform costs continue to constitute significant proportions of rural households’ educational expenditure and could pose a barrier to parents who do not have the resources to cater for their wards in schools.
Nevertheless, there are others also who chastise the government for poor policy formulation, implementation and monitoring, which is retarding progress in the national educational advancement and so injuring the future of the current generation. It has been observed that the government of Ghana has to spend between 5-7% of her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education, as this will be in line with the views of the association of African universities and World Bank position on quality education. It is interesting to note that Burkina Faso spends 7% of her GDP on education, Togo 8%, Namibia 8%, South Africa 7%, and Botswana 15% whilst Ghana spends a paltry 3.1%. This raises much concern as to whether the government would be able to achieve her vision of education for all at the basic level (Moran, 2006).
This has made the researcher feel that it is important to conduct this research on the impact of the capitation grant on enrollment of pupils in the basic education schools in Ghana.
Not much research has been conducted on the issue of the capitation grant since the government of Ghana instituted capitation in the basic schools in the country.
1.1 Statement of the Problem
The Government of Ghana instituted the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme in 1996. This is because the government was determined to get more children into school. The programme brought a cost-sharing scheme to cover non-tuition fees, under which parents were expected to bear limited expenses in relation to the education of their children. More importantly, the government stressed that no child was to be turned away for non-payment of fees. It is sad to note that this initiative did not work smoothly. Although Ghana’s school enrollment rates are high as compared to some other African countries, a persistent 40 per cent of children within the ages of 6 and 11 years of age remained out of school as of 2003 (Adamu-Issah et al, 2007). One of the main reasons why these children did not attend school was that their parents could not afford to pay the levies charged by the schools.
Despite the policy of fee-free tuition in basic schools, many districts charged levies as a means of raising funds, for cultural and sports activities, and for the maintenance of the schools facilities. This had the effect of deterring many families, particularly the poorest, from sending their children, especially girls, to school.
In order to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for education and national targets established in the 2003-2015, the Government has taken a bold step forward by abolishing all fees charged by schools and also providing schools with some grant for each pupil enrolled. The programme was first piloted with World Bank support in Ghana’s forty most deprived districts in 2004. Overall enrollment therefore rose by an impressive 14.5 per cent; enrollment gains for pre-school were particularly significant over 36 per cent (Adamu-Issah et al, 2007). This success led to the nationwide adoption of what is known as the ‘Capitation Grant’ system in early 2005. Under this system, every public kindergarten, primary school and junior high school received a grant of about $3.30 (GH ¢4.50) per pupil per year and schools were not permitted to charge any fees to parents ( Adamu-Issah et al, 2007 ). This study therefore intends to find out if the implementation of the Capitation Grant has made an impact on the enrollment and academic performance of pupils in basic schools in Ghana and whether it can help the country achieve the Millennium Development Goal 2 by 2015 as set by the government of Ghana.
1.2 Objective of the Study
The general objectives of the study:
To examine the impact capitation grant has made on the enrollment of pupils at the basic school level in the Sunyani Municipality.
To find out how the Capitation Grant in Ghana has affected the performance of pupils in the national Basic Education Certificate Examination.
To identify challenges and problems hindering the efficient running of the programme.
4. To find out if the programme has had any impact on gender disparity.
1.3 Research Questions
The project seeks to address the following questions:
In what way can the adoption of the capitation grant affect the performance of pupils in the Basic Education Certificate Examination?
How has the capitation grant bridged the enrollment gap between the boys and the girls education?
Does the running of the capitation grant programme come with problems and challenges?
Are there solutions or counter measures to rectify these problems and challenges?
Has the introduction of the capitation grant increased the enrollment in basic school in the Sunyani Municipality?
1.4 Significance of the Study
The study will be beneficial to all stakeholders in the education sector especially the government of Ghana. It will help sensitize districts that are yet to access the facilities to know the problems and challenges that come with it. It will enable them to make the necessary preparation and provision before they get on board the programme.
The problems and challenges identified by the researcher will help policy makers in their future formulation of long term plans and policies for the educational sector especially for children in the rural/ deprived areas. The study is expected to serve as a basis for review and regulations on the subject matter.
The study will further be useful to international bodies like United Nations International Children Education (UNICEF now United Nations Children’ Fund ) World Health Organization (WHO) International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and other foreign donors; as the study will reveal the areas where they can offer assistance to help humanity.
1.5 Limitation of Study
The area of study was limited by a variety of factors and notable ones are:
Time constraints, due to the fact that the period for the research is short to allow for collection of adequate data on the subject and this can affect the final outcome of the project.
Some respondents for no apparent reason failed to cooperate with the researcher during the data collection period.
There were not enough funds to cover the whole of Brong-Ahafo Region and other regions. The sample size was limited to respondents in the Sunyani Municipality because the researcher could not move to other areas to gather information.
1. 6 Organization of Study
The study comprises five main chapters. Chapter one looks at the general introduction to the Capitation Grant. Chapter Two provides literature related to the topic. The Chapter three describes the research methodology, including the population, sampling techniques, questionnaire design, and data collection and processing. The section describes the core set of interviews that was used in the analyses. Chapter four presents, and analyses the results of the survey interviews conducted and questionnaires administered. Finally, chapter Five provides a summary of the major findings, conclusions and recommendations, and also raises issues requiring further research investigation in future.
1.7 Definition of Terms
C.P Capitation Grant
FCUBE Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education
MDGs Millennium Development Goals
ESP Education Strategy Plan
GDP Gross Domestic Product
UNCF United Nation Children Fund
CE Complementary Education
UPE Universal Primary Education