Accra, May 12, GNA - Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, on Wednesday cut the sod for the construction of 16 million pounds hostel for 7,400 students of the University of Ghana, Legon.
A United Kingdom based company; "THREE Cs" and its local counterparts are building the six-block facility that would contain 1,920 cubicles for hire to students.
Mr Baah-Wiredu said the over-crowding in the country's major universities was pathetic and he gave the assurance that the Government was working around the clock to solve the problem.
He announced that other sods would be cut to begin the construction of hostels, bungalows and 800-capacity lecture halls for public universities within the next two weeks to fulfil the promise made by President John Agyekum Kufuor.
Mr Baah-Wiredu said each university would benefit from a 20 billion-cedi package from the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the construction of such facilities.
He noted that the Central Government alone could not provide accommodation for the increasing number of students in the universities and charged the District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies to invest in the provision of hostels in tertiary institutions.
Professor Kwesi Yankah, Dean of the Faculty of Arts of the University, noted that the construction of the hostel, which could accommodate such a large number of students, would ease the accommodation pressure on the University.
He said that currently, only 36 per cent of the 25,000-student population was accommodated in the five halls of residence and the Jubilee Hall constructed by the University's Alumni.
Prof. Yankah said that although the remaining 64 per cent were non-resident students, most of them ended up staying at the campus through dubious means "and this puts a lot of pressure on the limited facilities of the University".
He, therefore, commended THREE Cs for coming to the aid of the students and said that the hostel would be the single largest accommodation facility in the University.
Mr Patrick K. Cassidy, the Chief Executive Officer of the Three Cs International Limited, said the Company would use six weeks to construct each of the six blocks.
He announced that actual work on the construction of the hostel would begin next week and expressed the hope that they would be completed by December.
He said a prototype of the hostel would be constructed as a classroom for La Presbyterian Senior Secondary School in Accra.