Bechem (B/A), March 20, GNA - Mr. J. H. Mensah, Senior Minister, at the weekend said provision of modern infrastructure in training colleges was in pursuance of quality education for national development. He explained that for the nation to achieve quality education for its citizens, it was incumbent that quality trained teachers were produced to impart the knowledge for human resource development. The Senior Minister was speaking at the 58th anniversary of St Joseph's Training College at Bechem at which the college's Strategic Plan and Development Fund were launched.
The anniversary celebration was under the theme, "Infrastructure Development, A sine Qua Non for Quality Education". Mr Mensah said the government launched the new educational reform two years ago upon the realization that the existing reforms were not producing the expected results.
"The statistics deceived us because they were compiled with irrelevant criteria", he said, adding that Ghana needed to take a cue from countries like Korea and Malaysia where about 75 per cent of the workforce had had the full course of secondary education.
"Ghana can attain the cherished status of middle income country if we follow the footsteps of developed countries by working hard in order to achieve a more decent standard of living", the Senior Minister said. He said human resource development was the government's priority since education was "the heart and soul" of development, noting that the removal of the deficiency in the teaching of science and mathematics was a major target of the government.
Mr Mensah said making training colleges diploma-awarding institutions did not only gave them a name but "a new dimension, a new standard and a new quality" to become part of the nation's tertiary education system.
Mrs Angelina Baiden-Amissah, the Deputy Minister of Basic and Teacher Education, reiterated that the government believed in the provision of essential facilities for sound teaching and learning to take place.
"That is the reason why at the basic education level, classroom blocks have been built all over the country under the HIPC benefit and GETFund."
She said the realization that quality basic education depended on quality teacher education had placed a lot of responsibility on the government to provide infrastructure base for the kind of teacher education that would promote purposeful and relevant basic education in the country.
Mrs Baiden-Amissah said the government believed in partnership with agencies that were ready to support education delivery and appreciated the efforts of Parent/Teacher Associations at supplementing its efforts in the provision of infrastructure.
She expressed the government's hope that college authorities would take good care of the facilities and maintain them for the benefit of staff and students to facilitate effective teaching and learning for the promotion of quality education for all.
Mr Charles David Bannerman Mensah, the Principal of the College, said as part of the College's strategic plan for 2004-2008, the college this year aimed at providing an ICT/library complex with internet facilities, staff bungalows, early childhood development centre, renovation of the school cafeteria, with assistance from Tano South District Assembly, a new classroom block and the maintenance of existing buildings.
Mr Ernest Nibenee Derry, College Prefect, noted that the college's inability to score 100 per cent passes in the final examinations could be attributed to the random changing of the course outline in the diploma course.
"It will surprise you to know that just last semester the second year's technical and education course was changed at the eleventh hour", he said and appealed to the authorities to do their best to bring a consistent course outline to enable the tutors to provide handouts early enough.
Nana Fosu Gyeabour Akoto 11, Bechemanhene who presided, advised the teacher trainees to eschew negative and unproductive acts and practices since they were going to train children to become responsible citizens in future.
The Senior Minister later cut the sod for work to begin on the construction of an estimated two billion cedis multi-purpose resource centre for the college and Mrs. Baiden-Amissah inaugurated a new college bus provided by government and the staff common room renovated by the