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Work stalls on Damanko community SHS

BY: Timothy Ngnebe

Work on a community day senior high school (SHS) at Damanko in the Nkwanta-North District in the newly created Oti Region has halted.

The project comprises a four-storey 24-unit classroom block, information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, science block, staff accommodation, library and other facilities.

The facility is part of 123 E-blocks that were started in 2013 to improve access to secondary education in the country.

Work on about a dozen of the structures were completed and operationalised at various locations across the country, while the others were said to be at various stages of completion as of 2016.

Second visit

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The Daily Graphic first visited the Damanko Community SHS in July 2017 when the E-block that contains all the structures was yet to be roofed.

During a second visit to the facility on February 25, this year, it was realised that the E-block had been roofed but the contractor was not on site.

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Although heaps of sand and piles of cement blocks were seen on the site, no work was being done.

Sand and chippings at the site of the uncomplrted E-block.

A caretaker, Mr Godwin Wogba, who was at the site during the visit, said he had been maintaining security at the site since the project started.

When asked when the contractor would return to continue with work on the project, he said "I cannot tell because my duty here is to ensure that thieves do not take advantage of the inactivity here to steal the items."

He could not give the last time some work was done at the site, saying "It has been a long time since the contractor came to work here."

DCE

During the visit in February, the District Chief Executive (DCE) of Nkwanta-North District, Mr Jackson Jakayi, was contacted about the stalled project and he described the development as worrying.

"President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed that all uncompleted projects in the various districts have to be completed before new ones are embarked on.

The E-block at Damanko is a major project that will help to increase access to secondary education, so I am worried that it has still not been completed,” he said

Mr Jakayi said he had held discussions with the contractor who had told him that he would return to the site to complete the work before the year ended.

Background

The first of the 200 E-Block schools to be built was in Ekumfi Otuam in the Central Region and was inaugurated in 2015 and named after former President John Evans Atta Mills.

While answering a question on the floor of Parliament on February 13, this year, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, indicated that 21 of those schools that were started by the previous government had been completed in 2017.

He told Parliament that the government would close all contracts for the community day senior high schools on which work had not commenced.

According to him, an assessment of the projects by the Ministry of Education had revealed that some schools were under construction while others had not started.

He added that the Ministry was prioritising the completion of the projects "on a need basis" adding that "contracts that have not been commenced at all will be closed out and budgeted for later.”

On February 13, this year, a Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, announced that the government had started the disbursement of $500 million (about GH¢2.45 billion) realised at the back of inflows into the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), for the completion of classroom blocks in senior high schools (SHSs).

About 766 abandoned and new structures were to be completed across the country, particularly in schools running the double track system, to provide enough classrooms to phase out the system for second-year students from September this year.