1.1 Background of the Study
It is a well-known fact that education is the most important key for any nation to achieve the needed development. Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another. (Chesterton, 1874). However it is established that about two-third of the world’s population live in stark illiteracy and the majority of them come from the third world. (Education for All, 2000). Ghana as a nation is not an exception of high illiteracy rate in the sub-region. Not only is the high illiteracy rate the problem but most importantly the regional disparities in the provision of educational services. It took over fifty years for education to be extended from the south to the northern part of Ghana. (Vincent, 2000).
Various governments from independence have made efforts to promote and improve the quality of education in Ghana. The Convention People’s Party led by the first president of the republic of Ghana Dr. Kwame Nkrumah enacted the education act in 1961 and this act formally introduced the Free Compulsory and Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) in Ghana (Bening, 1990). This act was to compel all parents to send all children of school going age to school. However, this and many policies that were formulated by the Nkrumah’s government could not see the light after his overthrow in 1966. (Vincent, 2000).
One of the main reasons that children in Ghana do not attend school is that their parents simply cannot afford to pay the levies charged by the schools. Despite the policy of fee-free tuition in the basic schools, many districts charge levies as a means of raising funds, for example, for school repairs, and cultural and sporting activities; this has the effects of deterring many families, particularly the poorest, from sending their children to school. (GES, 2006)
The government of Ghana through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports has therefore set up a Capitation Grant Scheme, which commenced in the 2003/2004 academic year, whereby every basic school receives an amount of GH¢ 2.50 per male pupil enrolled and GH¢ 3.50 per female pupil enrolled. This should serve to remove the financial barrier created by these levies, yet more than compensate the schools for any lost of revenue they face as a result. (Ibid)
The utilization of the Capitation Grant has been designed to empower the school to effectively use financial resources to plan and carry out quality improvement activities. The process of planning activities should be participatory and transparent. The grant is therefore expected to serve as an opportunity to help build school level capacity to effectively implement fiscal decentralization – which is a long term goal of the government of Ghana. (GES, 2006)
1.2 Problem Statement.
It is estimated that about 70 percent of Ghanaians live in rural areas of Ghana and are very poor. A larger proportion of the rural population is self employed and operates largely in the informal sector. Incomes of people in this category are unstable, irregular and often low (GPRS, 2004). This situation invariably has an adverse effect on the lives of the people of Ghana, culminating in the inability of parents to send their wards to school. This also affects the physical and mental development of children due to malnutrition, hunger and disease. Any nation that is bedevilled with these calamities must adopt measures to arrest the situation or remain dependent on other developed economies for survival.
Education is therefore the bedrock for the development of the human resource of any nation to compliment the physical power of its labour force. The use of the physical power by the labour force without complimenting it with the intellectual capabilities in a germane psychological environment will certainly lock out societal development in a primitive state. That is why the human resource development efforts cannot be over emphasized.