Parliament has approved a formula for the disbursement of an amount of GH¢ 790, 224, 1499.00 billion by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the year 2017.
The formula was approved in accordance with Section 8 (2) of the GETFund Act 581, which enjoins the Board of Trustees of the Fund to annually submit to Parliament for approval, a formula for the distribution of monies into desiccated accounts of tertiary education and second cycle education institutions, basic education schools and other related aspects of education.
Per the formula, an amount of GH¢ 255,500,000.00 would be allocated to the tertiary sub-sector while GH¢242, 019, 14.10 would go to secondary cycle education.
Also, an amount of GH¢ 50,400,000 million, GH¢ 15,125,000 and GH¢ 4,425,000 are expected to be allocated to GETFund and the Ministry of Education, the MPs Emergency Projects and monitoring respectively.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader, Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, who presented a report of the Committee of the Whole on the formula on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Joseph Osei- Owusu, said the GET Fund's new areas of focus for the year 2017, includes fencing of schools with high risk of encroachment, provision of white boards in schools, construction of kindergarten facilities as well as regulatory and policy reforms.
He added that the structure of spending the amount approved was aligned to the educational sector's priority projects and programmes, which includes the provision of academic facilities and infrastructure, scholarships, allocation of funds to the Students Loan Trust Fund, procurement of teaching and learning materials as well as demystifying and popularising Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (SMET) and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
The committee, according to him, expressed concerns over the delays in the payment of remaining accruals for 2016 and urged the Ministry of Finance to release the outstanding amount of GH¢94.554,979.93 as a matter of urgency to enable the GETFund meet its 2016 commitments and liabilities.
A former Deputy Minister for Education and MP for North Tongu, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, in a contribution to the motion said the capping of statutory funds by the government in its 2017 budget was as a result of the reduction of the total amount approved.
He urged government to increase the allocations to meet the deficit in the education sector and match up the expectations of the free Senior High School policy which would command massive infrastructure and logistical provisions.
A Deputy Minister for Education, Barbara Ayisi, explained that existing schools without kindergartens would be provided with kindergartens during the year to deepen the quality of education even at the pre-school level, adding that the reduction in the allocations would not affect the policy because the funds would be judiciously used.
The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, on his part said government's promises captured in the budget under education could be attained if the government increased the allocation to the Fund which would be the vehicle to deliver the promises.
Source: ISD (Gilbert Ankrah)