Will the free Senior High School policy reduce poverty in Ghana?

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Several government policies have been implemented in the quest to enhancing educational access in Ghana. A recent one is the free SHS system that was introduced in 2017. The goal of the free SHS system is to reduce poverty by eliminating household need to pay fees for senior high education, especially for the poor who it had been shown are not accessing education because of the costs. This paper investigated whether the free SHS system will reduce poverty in Ghana. Using 2017 cross-sectional data from GLSS round seven, the study employed a quantitative approach through descriptive analysis and simulations in achieving the aims of the research. The descriptive analysis revealed that there still exists a bias between poor and the non-poor, rural and urban areas as well as deprived and least-deprived regions in Ghana with regards to their consumption of secondary education. The simulated effect of the free SHS policy was a 2.56% and 0.76% decrease in poverty headcount rate for urban and rural households respectively. The total poverty rate also decreased by 0.86% from 23.4% to 23.2%. The fall in poverty levels implies that the increase in consumption on secondary education (because of the subsidy) lowered poverty rates as more people can afford education. Despite the decrease in poverty rates, the issue of targeting government subsidies remains a problem. There still exists some disparity as poor and rural households receive the least amount of the government subsidy.
Undergraduate thesis submitted to the Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University, in partial fulfillment of Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, April 2019
Ghana, free Senior High School policy, poverty, subsidy, simulation