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15 September 2016

Community SHS: Gov’t must apologise for ‘shameful deceit’ – NUGS

community-shdThe National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has criticised government over what it has described as the “failure to construct the 200 community day senior high schools” as promised by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the lead-up to the 2012 elections.

The student body condemned government for postponing the timelines for the completion of the projects, adding: “Under no circumstance should the educational fortress of a developing country like Ghana be underestimated and disrespected by politicians as a means of enriching their political manifestos and campaign messages.”

In a press release signed by Paul Gyan, Coordinating Secretary of NUGS, the students pointed out that according to government’s budget as presented in November 2014, funds had been made available for the completion of 200 schools in addition to some 23 others sponsored by the World Bank.

The student association, thus, did not understand why the projects could not be completed and the flag bearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr John Mahama, has rather indicated that they would be finished in his second term if retained in office at the December 7 polls.

To the association, “It is sad and an unquantifiable shame that the current government has never ceased to disappoint with its unbelievable bravado to always disregard, disrespect, and intimidate the educational framework of Ghana, purposely to score undeserving political capital and votes.”

Below is the full statement:

PRESS STATEMENT

The government of Ghana must apologise for putting Ghanaians on the wheels of deception and false pretence as a result of a monumental failure to construct the 200 community day senior high schools.

Education is a transformational pillar on which the human resource capacity of our very country can be well trained, nurtured and polished for the qualitative benefit of countries and the entire world.

For this reason, under no circumstance should the educational fortress of a developing country like Ghana be underestimated and disrespected by politicians as a means of enriching their political manifestos and campaign messages.

It is a sad and unquantifiable shame that the current government has never ceased to disappoint with its unbelievable bravado to always disregard, disrespect and intimidate the educational framework of Ghana, purposely to score undeserving political capital and votes.

On Wednesday, 19 November 2014, the Finance Minister addressed parliament on the 2015 budget, and on page 27, paragraph 99, the honourable minister read:

“Mr Speaker, President Mahama’s pledge to construct additional 200 senior high schools by 2015 is very much on course. So far, the first 50 are at various stages of completion, and this budget has also made provision for the next 50. Under the World Bank-supported Secondary Education Improvement Project, an additional 23 are being constructed, therefore, this means that, so far, funding has been procured for 123 out of the 200 promised senior high schools. We remain confident by meeting our target in line with our prudent fiscal policy that all major capital projects must be fully funded before granted.”

The above paragraph indicates that, as of 2014, 50 fully-funded community SHSs were at various stages of completion with funding from the Government of Ghana. Then under the World Bank-supported project, an additional 23 of the senior high schools were being constructed, obviously, with funding from the World Bank, also fully funded before granting such contract. Then the 2015 budget made provisions for the construction of an additional 50 of such schools, yet again fully funded by the government of Ghana. I say fully funded because the minister for finance said it is in line with the prudent fiscal policy, which says that all major capital projects must be fully funded before they are granted to contractors.

If the government is being honest to the people of Ghana and for that matter the students of this great nation, then by now, almost 22 months after that part of the budget was read, indicating that all the three phases of the construction has different and separate funding, fifty (50) that was at various stages of completion as at November 2014, should have been completed by now. The additional 23 that were funded by the World Bank as at November 2014 should have been completed by now as well. The 2015 budget also made provision for the construction of another 50, this batch too should have been completed, because they were all fully funded.

Even if we have to compromise with the government that there have been shortfalls in the budget in a perceived “well-to do” economy that has led to the inability to complete the 100 government-funded project, what about the 23 that were not funded by the Ghanaian government? What happened to the World Bank-supported 23 new community day senior high schools? Was there a shortfall in the World Bank’s budget too?

The president of the Republic of Ghana, just some few days ago, in the Central Region commissioned 10 of the fully-funded 123 community day senior high schools. The 10 new SHSs that were commissioned are those that are fully completed out of the fully funded 123 SHSs that are dotted across the nation. Yes! Just 10 by 2016. We were promised 200 SHS. We could not get what we were promised, still the government keeps echoing that ‘123 community day senior high schools are at various stages of completion.’ We agreed to take 123 out of the 200, yet again, we have been given such a meagre part of the promise. Ten out of 200 is 10 per cent out of hundred. In the classroom exam score, 10% out of 100% is an F, a woeful failure, a failed promise, a failed project.

On the same day of the commissioning of the 10 completed SHSs, the president asked us, the students, parents of wards who are yet to enter SHSs, graduates who seek to secure employment at the second cycle institutions, that since he has disappointed us in respect of the said 200 community senior high schools, that since his government could not in over four years construct 200 community day senior high schools, even though he has failed us in completing the 100 senior high schools, the 2014 and 2015 budgets made provisions for, he has shown how he and his government are not ready to help salvage the Ghanaian student even with funding from an international organisation such as the World Bank. He has yet again asked us to entrust the leadership of this noble country into his care so that he can use like ‘forever’ to complete the construction of the said 200 SHSs?

We cannot sit aloof and glorify failure, so we must as a matter of urgency affect change in the style of leadership this country is currently experiencing. The government must realise that the nation cannot develop when issues of education are played with like a doll.

ALUTA CONTINUA, VICTORIA ASCERTA.

Signed:

Paul Gyan Coordinating Secretary-NUGS

Thomas Takyi-Bonsu Press & Information Sec.

 

 

 

Source: classfmonline.com

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