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20.05.2004 Regional News

Lack of dormitories, classrooms hampering the take-off STEP programme.

By GNA

Gomoa-Panfokrom (C/R), May 20, GNA - Lack of dormitories and adequate classrooms is seriously hampering the take-off of the government programme to provide free vocational training for unskilled girls and women in four selected districts in the Central Region at the Gomoa-Panfokrom Women's Training Institute.

The districts are, Agona, Awutu-Effutu-Senya, Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, and the Gomoa administrative area. Beneficiaries of the programme dubbed, "STEP" training programme are unemployed females, particularly jobless girls and middle-aged women who were registered sometime last year by the government for gainful employment.

Madam Rebecca Ampah-Korsah, Headmistress of the Panfokrom Women's Training Institute, disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in an interview at Panfokrom on Wednesday.

According to Madam Ampah-Korsah, the programme, which was scheduled to take off in September last year, has not materialised because the Institute lacks adequate dormitories and classrooms to cater for additional student intake.

She said at the moment, tutors and students still pair up in the dormitory at the Institute. Madam Ampah-Korsah regretted that in spite of numerous calls on the government to complete the new classroom block, which requires electrical, wood and plumbing works to complete, have fallen on deaf ears.

Similarly, assurances given to the authorities of the institute to complete the on-going dormitories, which would be capable of housing 200 students have also not been fulfilled.

Madam Ampah-Korsah since the programme was announced by the government, many unskilled junior and senior secondary school leavers in the four districts have been making regular contacts with the authorities of the Institute for admission but their requests were turned down due to lack of accommodation and classrooms facilities.

According to Madam Ampah-Korsah, Briwa and Panfokrom Women's Training Institutes were selected to implement the programme in the Central Region. Unfortunately, Madam Ampah-Korsah further stated, her counterpart at Briwa had already started the programme while Panfokrom is lagging behind because of infrastructural problem.

She described the programme as laudable because when it takes off the institute could turn out 300 girls and middle-aged women in the four districts and make them marketable and self-employed citizens. Madam Ampah-Korsah said few months after the initiation of STEP programme, the Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, visited the area during which he promised to help the institute complete all the on-going projects at the Institute.

She said when the Vice-President fulfilled the electricity problem which the Institute had grappled with for many years, authorities of the Institute thought the dormitories and the classroom projects be completed, but that was not the case.

Madam Ampah-Korsah, therefore, appealed to the Vice-President to use his good offices to help Panfokrom Women's Training Institute complete the dormitories and the classroom blocks as early as possible to enable STEP and other programmes initiated by the management of the institute to commence.

She also suggested to the government to consider the Institute for allotment of some of the GETFUND as it has been offering various secondary schools to promote the girl-child educational programme. Madam Ampah-Korsah expressed fear that failure to adequately fund women's training institutions would severely undermine national efforts to enhance girl-child education and eventually promote indiscipline and immorality among girls and women. 20 May 04.

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