The facility expansion project, which forms part of the $40-million additional financing from the World Bank under the Secondary Education Improvement Programme (SEIP), has taken off.
The project will impact 75 schools through the improvement of facilities and learning outcomes, the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of General Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, announced in Accra yesterday.
Dr Adutwum was speaking in an interview when he paid a visit to the Daily Graphic newsroom, where he interacted with the members of the editorial conference in Accra yesterday.
Last year, the government received an additional $40 million from the World Bank for the improvement of senior high schools (SHSs) under the SEIP.
Known as the SEIP Additional Financing (AF), the money is meant to enhance facilities in 75 schools.
The SEIP schools are the 23 World Bank-sponsored school blocks, known as the E-Blocks, initiated by the Mahama administration to improve access to education.
The SEIP project seeks to increase access to SHS education in under-served districts and improve quality in low-performing SHSs in Ghana.
Dr Adutwum said the government had so far completed nine of the remaining 15 SEIP schools which were initiated by the previous administration under the sponsorship of the World Bank.
He said five of the remaining SEIP schools would be completed by the end of this month, adding that the funds used for the construction of the school blocks were public funds and, therefore, there was no way the current government would abandon them.
Dr Adutwum explained that the SEIP AF which would entail the upgrading of the facilities would cover both single and double-track schools.
He said the government was tackling the infrastructure issue at SHSs on three fronts — the $500-million securitisation, the normal GETFund projects and the $40 million SEIP AF projects.
The government, this year, secured the approval of Parliament to securitise 40 per cent of the GETFund.
Out of the proceeds that will accrue from the securitisation, $500 million (about GH¢2.45 billion) will be used to improve infrastructure in SHSs to eliminate the double-track system in the second year of the current first years who are running the double-track system.
About 766 abandoned and new structures will be completed across the country, especially in schools running the double-track system, to provide enough classrooms to phase out the system for second-year students from September this year.
Welcoming the deputy minister, the acting Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Kingsley K. Inkoom, expressed his gratitude to Dr Adutwum for the visit and voiced concern about the situation where journalists faced challenges seeking information from government officials.
He asked government officials to be open to journalists, reminding them that “our business is to help make this country progress”.
Mr Inkoom said he was happy that the deputy minister had sat through the editorial conference to see that the selection of stories for the publication was not the preserve of one person.
Rather, he said, the decision regarding whether or not a story should be published was a collective one taken by the editorial team.