14.07.2005 Regional News

Minister tours Western Region

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Sekondi, July 14, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo Marfo, the Minister of Education and Sports, has appealed for support for efforts to protect school lands and those earmarked for educational institutions to facilitate their expansion and development.

He said encroachment on these lands would make the provision of additional infrastructure and new schools difficult and mentioned Takoradi, Accra and Kumasi as some of the areas where these problems were acute.

Mr Osafo Marfo said these on Wednesday during a visit to some schools in Sekondi and Takoradi at the beginning of a three-day tour of some educational institutions in the Western Region. He expressed concern about the tendency of some chiefs and landowners to re-enter and sell unused school lands to private developers. The minister said authorities that acquired lands for schools and other public institutions years ago took into consideration the future expansion of these institutions.

''Therefore, portions of these lands yet to be developed continue to be the property of these institutions.'' Mr Osafo Marfo advised schools and public institutions to get titles to their properties and register them with the appropriate agencies as means to protect them from further encroachment.

Mr Osafo Marfo said as part of the schools reform programme that begins in 2007, all training colleges would be provided with a 55-seater bus each, libraries of these institutions would be rehabilitated and stocked with books and computer laboratories would be established. He said the reforms could not achieve much if the training colleges were not properly equipped to transform the policy into reality. Mr Osafo Marfo said to uplift the image of training colleges, all principals would be provided with personal vehicles to boost their moral and improve their operations.

The Minister said 10 training colleges have been selected to specialise in the sciences and would be designated science-training colleges. Addressing students of the Holy Child College Mr Osafo Marfo said the reforms in the educational sector begins with the teacher and urged the trainee-teachers to be disciplined, computer literate and ready to improve the skills and human resource needs of the country. Mrs Cecilia Happy Quaye, Principal of the College, complained about the lack of accommodation for teachers and students.

The Principal also spoke about the indiscriminate sale of school land by former owners to private developers and said this was seriously affecting the expansion of the college. 14 July 05

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