Education is a fundamental driver of economic growth and personal development, with secondary‍ education playing a particularly pivotal role. Recognizing this,‍ several African nations, including Ghana, have made secondary education free. A prime example of this trend is Ghana’s ⁢Free Public Senior High School (FreeSHS) policy, initiated in 2017.

Understanding the FreeSHS Policy

The FreeSHS policy⁢ was ⁤established to eliminate cost barriers to secondary‌ education, including⁣ fees, textbooks, boarding, and meals. As public policy researchers, we conducted a study to assess the impact of this policy, particularly its effect on ‌the number of girls completing secondary school. This ​focus was due to the fact that girls in Ghana face significant challenges in accessing⁤ higher education,‍ with enrollment and retention rates decreasing at each educational level.

Assessing the Impact of the FreeSHS Policy

Our⁢ research revealed that the government’s absorption of education costs served as a ‌critical incentive for students to complete secondary education, especially for girls. Our paper is the first to ‌quantitively evaluate the ​policy’s impact on‌ education ⁢outcomes. By focusing on the policy’s impact on ‍schoolgirls, our findings demonstrate ⁢how removing⁤ cost barriers to education‌ significantly enhances the chances of girls completing secondary education.

Examining ⁤the Pros and Cons of the FreeSHS Policy

Despite the positive impact, the FreeSHS policy has faced criticism. Critics‍ have questioned the policy’s financial sustainability and raised concerns about deteriorating education quality due to rising enrollment rates. However, public opinion remains largely favorable, with a significant‍ majority agreeing that the policy ​has created opportunities for those⁢ who otherwise would not‌ have been able to⁢ afford secondary education.

Policy ‌Implications

Our findings suggest‌ several policy implications. To maximize the benefits of increased enrollment and completion rates, Ghana must address education quality ‍concerns, implement​ complementary policies, develop interventions to address the specific needs of deprived districts, and make FreeSHS a targeted intervention rather than universal.