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01.05.2007 Education

Classrooms For Deprived Schools

There were some Ghanaians who thought it was sickening for the country to have voluntarily come under the programme of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative to qualify for debt cancellation.

But even as such people were whining, there were reports about pupils who had to study under trees or in makeshift classrooms and had to close from school anytime it rained. That was a major phase of our skewed development.

However, we all agree that education is the key to functional sustained development and progress. Indeed, education is essential to democracy and the equality of citizens.

Education is important because it helps to empower the people. All the talk about poverty alleviation and wealth creation will be meaningless without educating our people.

That is why the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) must be commended for taking up the responsibility of providing decent and permanent classrooms for 2,000 basic schools which hold classes under trees or in makeshift structures.

It is noteworthy that the GETFund undertook a nation-wide census of such schools and it is our hope that at the end of the exercise such “innovation” would be a thing of the past.

Studying under such inhospitable conditions does not inspire confidence in the teachers nor pupils. But we need to give meaning to the fact that all Ghanaians are equal.

The Board of Trustees of the GETFund has approved funding for the schools. But it is imperative that the beneficiary communities are informed, educated and mobilised to support the programme.

Those contractors who will be fortunate to be awarded the projects must approach the job with commitment and ensure that they produce work of quality which can stand the test of time.

The practice whereby projects in the rural areas in particular are executed so shoddily because of the lack of supervision must stop. We need quality work and value for money.

It is our hope and prayer that the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the district assemblies will team up with the communities to monitor and evaluate the progress of work to guide the GETFund as to whether the investment gets appreciated.

It should be possible for some of the communities to be given the funds to undertake the projects through communal labour. More important, the recent experience of some World Bank projects being executed within 100 days could serve as a measure for the execution of the classrooms project.

We will all be happy to see that no pupil in a public basic school sits in the open to study. That could even help the Inspectorate Division of the GES to enforce the rule against private schools.

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