This paper examines the impact of the Ghanaian free compulsory universal basic education (FCUBE) program launched in 1996 and enhanced through capitation grant in 2005 on literacy and numeracy skills production. The FCBUE program is a particularly interesting case as evidence based on raw data shows that it increased learning outcomes despite the influx of marginal entrants and acted, over the past decades, as the main inflection point for the economy’s recent gains in human capital. Overall, using a difference-in-differences strategy that exploits the timing of the program and spatial variation in pre-program literacy and numeracy skills between districts and by gender, I find that the program increased literacy and numeracy skills but had a larger effect for urban and richest households children. Additionally, results show that only the lower secondary education, and not primary education, was sufficient enough to guarantee literacy and numeracy. I argue that this latter hints strongly at the possibility of human capital loss or depreciation rather than the lack of improved quality of the primary school learning environment following the program.