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01.09.2005 General News

Intra- university bus service for public universities

GNA

Accra, Sept. 1, GNA - Government on Thursday said it is to introduce an intra-campus bus services to be run by Authorities and the Student's Representative Councils (SRCs) of public universities.

The service, aimed at easing the current transportation difficulties of commuting between halls of residence and lecture halls, is starting in the six public universities, namely the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Development Studies, University of Education, Winneba and University of Cape Coast.

Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports, addressing the Meet-the-Press series, in Accra noted that the location of residential facilities were increasingly getting farther and farther away from lecture halls and the situation must be addressed soon and fast.

He did not say how soon the service would start, but said the university authorities and the SRCs could also work out the details for hostels dotted around university campuses.

The Minister said the 39 teacher training institutions in the country would be provided with buses while head teachers would be provided with vehicles.

Mr Osafo-Maafo said the Government was also committed to the policy of continuous expansion and improvement of academic and physical infrastructure to meet the needs of tertiary institutions. "Institutions will be encouraged to rationalise their programmes and forge stronger links with business and industry, and in the case of the polytechnics, forge mutually beneficial links with universities and other research institutions."

He welcomed private sector involvement in the development of education especially at the tertiary level.

"I must, however, warn that it is criminal for such private educational institutions to operate without accreditation from the National Accreditation Board."

The Minister also charged students applying to educational institutions to do background checks on their credibility in order not to be duped.

"It is also your responsibility to check on the credibility or otherwise of these institutions before signing onto their programmes and paying fees to them."

There are currently about nine accredited private tertiary institutions in the country.

On access to education, Mr Osafo-Maafo said there had been a positive trend in pupil/student enrolment, retention and transition. He put total public school enrolment at 3,698,479 with private school numbers at 1,189,953 between 2004 and 2005.

The enrolment at the Junior Secondary School level, he indicated, was rising with the 2004 to 2005 numbers hitting 33,002. Universities and polytechnics enrolment on the whole increased from 87,929 in the 2003-2004 academic year to 98,393 in 2004 - 2005 academic year.

He said he was delighted that the total number of children in special needs schools had increased by 32 per cent since 2001, but continued focus must be on increasing female participation, which stood at 40 per cent.

Mr Osafo-Maafo also called for a sustainable strategy to enrol special needs children in mainstream schools.

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