The government is to purchase 200 buses for distribution to needy senior secondary schools throughout the country, the Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, has announced.
The minister gave the hint when he appeared before Parliament to answer questions posed by some Members of Parliament (MPs) on issues related to education in their constituencies.
The MP for Sefwi-Akontombra, Mr Herod Cobbina, had asked the minister what effort his ministry was making to prevent Akontombra Senior Secondary School from collapsing due to the lack of infrastructure, such as library, administration block, staff bungalows and vehicles.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah said the ministry was feverishly preparing for a successful take-off of the new educational reforms in September 2007, and that the government intended to put in place educational facilities and services to meet certain minimum quality standards.
The ministry has instituted a programme of action meant to improve upon the academic and other facilities in schools throughout the country, in stages, within the financial and other resource constraints of the economy.
He gave the assurance that the Akontombra Senior Secondary School would be considered when the programme began while one of the 200 buses would be allocated to the school.
Answering another question posed by the MP for Yilo Krobo, Mr Raymond Tawiah, Papa Owusu-Ankomah said the government's policy was to construct a model secondary school at least in each of the 138 districts under the Educational Strategic Plan, which is expected to end by 2015.
Mr Tawiah asked the minister when the Klo Agogo Secondary School would be upgraded with all the infrastructure and facilities necessary, for teaching and learning.
The minister explained that the first phase of 31 model schools was almost completed while contracts for the second phase of upgrading 25 other schools were awarded in 2006.
He said the selection criteria were based on the vulnerability of the district, the potential for attracting students from deprived environs of the districts and the diversification of the programmes to broaden the subject choice of both male and female students, and assured the MP that the Klo Agogo Secondary School would be considered when it met the criteria.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah also assured the MP for Jaman North, Mr Alex Asum Ahensah, that the Goka, Nafana and Suma¬man senior secondary schools, all in the constituency, would be considered alongside other schools to help ease the accommodation problems facing them.
Three MPs, Yaw Effah-Baafi (Kintampo South), Wisdom Gidisu(Krachi East) and Donald Dari Soditey (Sawla-Kalba) asked the minister what plans had been put in place for the provision of offices for their district education offices.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah explained that under the National Capacity Building Programme, 10 pilot districts were being provided with improved office accommodation and other facilities.
He stated that these would include some of the newly-created districts, adding that with time the programme would be expanded to cover other districts.
The minister said district assemblies were, however, being encouraged to give support in putting up offices for the various departments and agencies, including education.
Culled from Daily Graphic