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26.03.2004 General News

Social Welfare Institutions to Be Renovated.

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Kusanaba (U/E), March 26, GNA - A nationwide programme to renovate all training institutions under the Department of Social Welfare with proceeds from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative would start next month.

Mr. John Jabaah Bennam, Deputy Minister for Manpower Development and Employment, who disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday at Kusanaba in the Bawku West District of the Upper East Region during a working visit, said his Ministry has concluded discussions on the exercise with the Ministry of Finance.

He said the renovation exercise, which involves several millions of cedis would include purchasing of new equipment and working materials for the institutions to replace the existing ones, most of which are dilapidated and have outlived their usefulness.

The Deputy Minister further indicated that more innovative trades would be introduced into the rehabilitation centres to facilitate the on-going Skills Training and Employment Programme (STEP) to meet modern market demands as well as make the trainees employable.

During inspection of the Kusanaba Vocational Training Institute the Deputy Minster blamed the authorities of the school for their lukewarm attitude towards training the students, adding that the complete disorganization of the trainees and teaching staff does not promote a conducive atmosphere for teaching and learning.

Mr. Bennam expressed disgust at the way and manner the institution's authorities were manning the school and called for immediate re-organisation to make training more effective and worthwhile.

For instance, most of the windows to the carpentry shop were broken, while others were hanging. Most of the students were in their dormitories while others were idling. Apart from the dressmaking tutor and the Principal, all other teachers had abandoned lessons and were in their homes.

The trainees have abandoned the school's dinning hall and carry their food to the dormitory to eat, a practice the Principal accepts with the excuse that there were bats in the ceiling of the dining hall's roof.

The Principal appealed to the Deputy Minster to support the school to rehabilitate its tractor, which had broken down for so many years, the construction of a girls hostel and the rehabilitation of the entire school structures which has never been renovated since its construction in the 60s.

Mr. Bennam earlier visited the Rehabilitation Centre in Bolgatanga and commended the trainees and tutors for promoting good teaching and learning environment, adding that throughout the country, the Bolgatanga Centre was among the neatest. He urged the students to maintain the clean environment.

He gave the assurance that a number of computers would be made available to the centre to enable the management to start a computer training programme.

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