Education Ministry mobilises $1.5bn for infrastructure
The government is making an effort to raise $1.5 billion to develop more infrastructure in schools selected for the double- track system to hasten the process of phasing out the system within the shortest possible time.
The amount will be raised from both local and international sources by using 40 per cent of the GETFund as security.
Already, the Ministry of Education has laid the proposed securitisation of the GETFund before Parliament for approval.
In an interview in Accra last Friday, the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of General Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, said out of the amount, $500 million would be used to complete 766 structures in schools which were initiated under the GETFund but had stalled because of lack of funds.
When the double-track system was introduced in September this year, the government projected to phase out the system in seven years’ time.
But Dr Adutwum was of the view that with the securitisation of part of the GETFund, it was possible that the double-track system would be phased out completely by four years.
“We are going to use the funds that will be raised from the GETFund securitisation to finish all those stalled projects, add a few more blocks and make sure that we phase out the double-track system.
“Within the next three or four years, we would have added enough facilities to every school in such a way that there will not be any double-track any more,” he said.
Dr Adutwum explained that under the current arrangement, it was expected that more than half of the schools running the double-track system would phase out double track for their second-year students by next year.
Giving a breakdown of the structures to be completed, he said 258 were classrooms, 379 dormitories, 92 dining halls and 37 science laboratories which were at various levels of completion, while others had been awarded on contract but were yet to begin.
He said the uncompleted projects in the senior high schools (SHSs) were sickening because while the projects had become stalled, students were struggling to get classrooms and dormitories.
“All these are sitting there and we cannot use them because of our poor strategy of school construction. They are all stalled and we cannot use them.
“And what we are doing now is that we are asking for $1.5 billion; $500 million will be used to complete all these structures; we will pay all outstanding arrears and put up more classroom blocks across the country,” he added.
“If we don’t do the securitisation of the GETFund, what it means is that all these will be sitting there and every year we will do a few of them until 10 years when we may be able to complete, but that will be 10 years of opportunity lost,” he explained.
He said securitisation was a common practice in developed countries and it was working for them and wondered why Ghana could not do same.
Dr Adutwum said the Ministry of Education had laid the proposed securitisation of the GETFund before Parliament for approval, adding that it had been referred to the joint Committee of Education and Finance for further deliberations.
“We are keeping faith with Ghanaians when we told them that this is what we are going to do and what we have done in Parliament shows that that is what we are going to do,” he told the Daily Graphic.
Dr Adutwum commended the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) for putting up 42 classroom blocks in various schools.
source: Graphic Online