It has emerged that the Ministry of Education has allegedly bloated a budget for the construction of a 6-unit classroom block to reduce the 181,993 estimated seat gaps expected in 2018’s enrolment due to government’s double track school calendar initiative.
Documents from the Ministry of Education cited by Happy FM’s Kwame Afrifa-Mensah indicate that the ministry budgeted GH¢404m to construct 622 separate classroom projects with each having 6 units. In effect, each 6-unit classroom block is estimated to cost GHc650,000 according to the document.
In addition to the classroom blocks, student furniture (mono desk) was estimated to cost GHc450 per desk for 181,993 units totaling GHc81.8m and teacher’s furniture (table and chair set) was also estimated to cost GHc980 per furniture for 3,730 units totaling GHc3.6m.
Eventhough the specifications of the classroom blocks and furniture are unknown, checks from local artisans revealed that producing standard furniture for students in large quantities could cost not more than 60% of the amount budgeted.
It is therefore surprising that these amounts were stated in the said document.
Interestingly, in November 2015, the former Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, and the Kpone Katamanso District Assembly inaugurated a 6-unit classroom block, with dual desks, at Katamanso Presbyterian School at a cost of GH¢510,000. The then New Patriotic Party (NPP) flagbearer now president of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo criticized the government for constructing a 6-unit classroom block at a cost of GHc510,000. He said “monies earmarked for Ghana’s development have found their way into the pockets of people in government. Is it a surprise, therefore, that we are suffering in this country?” He added, “a school which costs GH¢160,000 to construct by the private sector costs in excess of GH¢500,000 when done by government. Why won’t Ghanaians suffer?”
Commenting on the issue on Happy FM’s Epa Hoa Daben show, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo (former Greater Accra Regional Minister under the NDC government confirmed that his sources had informed him that the NPP government is to build the same 6- unit classroom block at a higher cost than what he inaugurated in 2015. He stated “I have been informed that the NPP is constructing the same 6-unit classroom blocks at a time that they were complaining of, today the cost of the same classroom blocks that they were complaining of, is more than what we built.
He advised politicians to desist from unnecessarily criticizing projects when in opposition. He said “If it is power that we want, you must campaign based on your track record and what you can do, so that they will have their trust vested in you and they will give you their mandate. But if we have to castigate people for what they haven’t done or accuse them wrongly, you will be measured with the same statement you make in the past.”
The Public Relation Officer (PRO) for the Education Ministry, Kwesi Obeng Fosu, who spoke in a Telephone interview with Happy FM was evasive on the issue.
By: Joseph Nii Ankrah.