The Government has identified about 8,000 basic schools that need urgent refurbishment, and would need about $200 million to renovate dilapidated basic school structures across the country.
Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister for Education, who gave the figures, in Parliament on Tuesday, said the identified structures threatened the lives of pupils, and the Government was seeking funds to start a serious rehabilitation and renovation of these structures.
“The Ministry is aware of the deplorable state of a number of school buildings across the country. We have identified 8,208 schools that need intervention. We’ve done a comprehensive review of these structures and we need a massive injection of funds,” Dr Prempeh said.
His assurance was in a contribution to a statement made by Mr Emmanuel Agyei Anwhere, MP for Atwima Nwabiagya South Constituency, in which he drew the attention of the House to “old basic educational structures sitting on time-bomb.”
Dr Prempeh said the Government was working assiduously to source the funds, and also with the support of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) to undertake the project.
In the statement Mr Anwhere recalled that last April, a six-unit pavilion of the Nkurankan Presby Primary School at Nkurankan in the Eastern Region collapsed, after a downpour brought down the 70-year old dilapidated school building injuring five women.
A similar incident occurred in February when six pupils of Breman Gyamra Methodist Kindergarten School died after their dilapidated classroom collapsed. Four months have passed since the Breman Gyambra school incident, and tongues were wagging on what solutions the Education and Finance Ministries would offer, but the Minister registered the commitment of the Government
Dr Prempeh said 20 of such school structures were in very critically deplorable conditions, which must be rehabilitated as soon as possible. He said the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) was collaborating with the Ministry to assist schools in deplorable conditions especially those with roofs ripped-up.
He said: “My first assignment unfortunately as a Minister of Education was to attend to a collapsed school building in the Central Region. Very deplorable! “We have done a comprehensive review of all these structures and we need a massive injection of funds to be able to attend to them.
“We are coming up with a tender to rehabilitate the serious ones, about 20 of them. “… So the government, I know for a fact is taking urgent steps to secure funding. It is going to cost us in a region of $200 million to fix it,” he said. In the statement, Mr Anhwere recalled a visit to Amadum Adankwame in his constituency and said he was struck to see that a basic school structure put up in 1933 had not seen any major renovation or repair works.
The school building had its roof ripped-up after a torrential rainfall last March
“In spite of the danger that the facility posed to human life, children below the age of five do travel for almost three kilometres from nearby communities like Sawua and Wuramumu to access education from this dangerous facility,” Mr Anhwere said.
He attributed the mass failures in the Basic Education Certificate Examination and West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination to the deplorable state of most schools in the country, and called for broad stakeholder consultation on ways to address the situation.