A former Deputy Minister For Education, Hon. Alex Kyeremeh, has called on the Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, stop inflicting his ignorance on Ghanaians by refraining from speaking about Mahama’s Community High School Project because he does not understand it.
Hon Kyeremeh’s advise is in reaction to claims by Dr. Adutwum that some E-blocks educational structures bequeathed by the Mahama government to the current government have not been completed because they were situated in jungles instead of cities.
“I don’t understand the issue of abandonment. There may be some E-blocks that we’ve not opened. If you put an E-block, as I’ve always said in the middle of the city, in Accra or Kumasi, it’s a great investment. But if you put them nowhere, in a jungle somewhere, if you don’t add dormitories, you can’t open them. So what we have done is to add dormitory blocks so that we can operationalize the E-blocks.” the Minister said recently when he toured some schools in the Ashanti Region. However, the former Deputy Minister of Education will have none of the Minister’s claims.
Explaining to the ‘Daily Post’ what the Community High School Concept was all about, he said for the past two decades, the annual demand for secondary education in Ghana has exceeded 20%. This, he said, is a result of increase in population and parents’ interest in educating their children.
“The demand for space in SHS was becoming a big challenge due to inadequate infrastructure. So, in 2012, after a series of stakeholder meetings, the idea of the Community Senior High School Concept came up. The idea was to establish new schools with first-class facilities like what you find in the E Blocks,closer to some communities with high numbers of JHS students” he explained.
According to Hon Kyeremeh, some of these communities were in urban, peri-urban and some deprived communities across the country.
“Bringing senior high school closer to the communities makes it affordable to the people and enhances community participation and ownership for effective and efficient management for better academic performance. This Community School Concept attracted the World Bank, and they agreed to support the programme. They recommended it to many countries using our model. It must be noted that the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service only identified the districts and municipalities that needed additional SHS” he explained further.
He said the beneficial Assemblies were asked to identify communities and engage traditional authorities to acquire lands, which should not be less than ten hectres. He further said the E-blocks were phase one of the project.
In some communities, the idea was to add additional facilities like dormitories, dining halls, and staff bungalows. By July 2016, we started awarding contracts for some of these schools, which were at advanced stages of completion. For instance, Krobo Community School in Techiman North in Bono East got approval for the construction of two number dormitory blocks and dining hall and a kitchen. Funding for the Community Secondary Schools project was the Getfund and a $ 156m facility from the World Bank, so it is not true there were no funds for the project” the Former Deputy Minister stated.
He said after seven years, none of these facilities saw the light of day notwithstanding numerous appeals to Dr Osei Adutwum because Getfund was collateralized for a $1.2 billion loan, with the fund having to to pay 60% of its money to defray the loan for ten years. He bemoaned the fact that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government is yet to publish what it used the $ 1.2 billion for.
“Again, government also capped 20% of the fund to add to its unsatisfied spending” he pointed out.
He said during the era of Former President Mahama, while the schools were waiting for additional facilities, 66-seater buses were given to all of them to bring students from nearby communities to school daily.
“Dr. Adutwum must be bold enough to mention schools that were constructed in jungles as indicated by him when he visited Ejura. He must guide his utterance because we will not allow him to run his mouth to cover his incompetence and lack of knowledge in the educational system in this country” the Former Deputy Minister charged.
On the current state of education in the country, he accused the government of deliberately refusing to invest into education in spite of all the loans they have raked in. He said the NDC government was able to do so much for education because it committed more than 20% of annual revenue to this sector.
“Apart from 2017, this current government has committed less than 20% to education . 20% is the threshold of the United Nations. Sadly, this year, the government’s budget for education is only 14%. This is the reason they cannot do any meaningful educational infrastructure projects” he revealed.
He accused Dr. Adutwum of being the only Minister of Education in the history of Ghana who has presided over basic schools without textbooks for four years. He said the Minster’s time in office has witnessed Ghana’s education returning to the era of schools under trees and classrooms without furniture. He said these are the schools JOY TV labelled “Schools of Shame”.
Hon. Alex Kyeremeh pointed out that for the past 3 years, more than 40,000 teachers have left the shores of this country with the Minister and his government able to replace only 16,000 of them.
“The Minister must be told now that education in Ghana is not only SHS. Even the Free SHS is seriously in trouble because of lack of infrastructure as well as intermittent supply of food due to inadequate funds. Since 2016, when the last textbooks for SHS were procured by NDC government, not a single textbook has been added. Looking at the numbers! Many students are without textbooks. Yet, Adutwum as Minister contracted people to print past questions and answers annually instead of textbook” the Former Deputy Minister and Former Member of Parliament for Techiman North, lamented..
He said as reported last week by the media, more than 136,000 first-year students have not reported to school . He wondered if the Minister is aware, adding that under the current educational system, students spend more time at home than school because of the unpopular double tracks system.
“ Tertiary institutions also have their fair share of the problems. Senior staff of our universities are on strike.The education calendar is in a mess. Education in Ghana is going down with each passing moment. The Minister must stop plunging Ghana’s education deeper into the abyss instead of indulge in self praise” he said.
He posited that Ghana’s education under the current government is doomed but with Former President John Mahama’s eminent return to power, there is light ahead of the tunnel.
Source: Daily Post