The Impact of School Capitation Grants on Access to Primary Education in Ghana

The capitation grants policy is one of the key strategies adopted by the Ghana Government to motivate Ghana’s drive to achieve universal primary education. This paper examines the impact of this policy on access to and participation in primary education in Ghana. The key policy questions addressed in this paper is that: to what extent has the capitation grants policy contributed to increase access to and participation in primary education adequate enough to enable Ghana achieve its education-related MDGs? And what lessons can be learnt from Ghana’s experience of the capitation grants policy? Data for the study was obtained from the World Development Indicators, UIS, and Ghana Education Management Information System (EMIS). The key indicators observed in the study are GAR, NAR, out-of-primary-school children, GER, NER, GPI and primary completion rate. In addition, the study looked at the extent to which capitation grants were equitably allocated. The above indicators were observed five years before implementation of capitation grants and five years afterwards. The results obtained from the indicators of the two regimes were compared to assess the extent to which capitation grants affected enrollment outcomes. The results of the study were mixed. While the study showed that Ghana will miss the MDGs, the evidence presented showed significant improvement in enrollment following implementation of the capitation grant policy. The results also showed that the allocation of capitation grants was less equitable and might encourage inequality in schools. The study therefore suggests modification in the capitation grants allocation formula to include three components: threshold grants, variable grants and bursary to children with special needs.
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