A deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Adutwum, has dispelled claims by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that it could use 90 days to complete 100 E-Block Schools started by the John Mahama-led administration and were at various stages of completion before they left power to create enough space to accommodate Senior High School students to end the Double-Track System.
He said under no circumstances could the NDC complete those projects in 90 days even when funds are available considering fluctuations in cost of the project and related matters.
In the view of Dr. Adutwum, once the Double-Track system is touched without being mindful of its objectives, it defeats the purpose of the fee-free Senior High School and therefore urged the NDC to consider another alternative to their claims.
“When the NDC left government, it took us (NPP) about seven months to start implementing the free Senior School. If the implementation was to be very smooth and easy, the NDC would have implemented it. What he is saying, apart from the World Bank funds, there was no money earmarked for the 200 school projects? If the President hadn’t adopted the GETFund Securitization, there wouldn’t have been any money to execute the projects we are undertaking in the various schools. Even if the money is there, NDC can’t execute and complete the 100 E-Block Schools they are talking about in 90 days”, he noted.
Dr. Adutwum made this rebuttal when interacting with Kwaku Owusu Adjei on Anopa Kasapa on Accra-based Kasapa 102.5 FM, Wednesday.
The General Secretary of the NDC, John Asiedu Nketiah, had earlier on the same program reiterated the umbrella family’s position of strengthening the fee-free Senior High Education policy being implemented by the government under the leadership President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
He said the NDC government under John Dramani Mahama will bring to an end the Double-Track system which has seen students attend classes in Green and Gold Tracks within 90 days if given the mandate to govern the country again.
The Akatamansonians, he added, have no intention of abrogating the fee-free Senior High School policy as being speculated by their political opponents in government and some media houses.
“We were building more E-Block Schools and as continue to commission them, all the students that enroll in those facilities were enjoying free education. As at the time we were leaving office, we had awarded 123 E-Block Schools under contract and we had completed 50 of them. So the remaining 73 were at various stages of completion. So, the 200 that we promised to build, we completed 50 and as we speak today, those facilities are operational and the remaining 73 are at various stages of completion. Most of them were even above 70% completion. So, if Mahama [flagbearer of the NDC] says that if he comes back to power within 90 days he will review the Free SHS policy to bring an end to the double-track system, it is doable and very easy. It is easy for NDC to complete the next batch of schools like 100 to complement the existing schools and there will be no need for that multiple track. We will not go and look for land to build new schools. We will complete existing ones”, he noted.
However, in the view of Dr. Adutwum, the task ahead is more than what meets the eye as being speculated by NDC Chief Scribe.
According to him, the NPP upon assumption in office and realizing that the loan that the NDC took to build the E-Block Schools under the Secondary Education Improvement Project was a good initiative made a follow up to also secure a US$40million facility to build libraries, computer laboratories among others to beef up the existing facilities.
He said the NPP has not abandoned the E-Block Schools which are in various stages of completion but would have to do the needful first before turning their attention on those projects.
Dr. Adutwum who is also the NPP MP for Bosomtwi constituency, further noted that the NDC had planned to build 200 E-Block Schools out of which they had funding from the World Bank to complete 23 of the schools.
Despite the availability of funds for the 23 schools, the NDC could only complete 12 of those schools. The other projects were Government of Ghana funded projects, stressing that such projects could only be completed as and when funds are available.
“The NDC did not earmark any money for the completion of those projects. The only one that they left behind some money was the construction of 23 E-Block Schools which was funded by the World Bank under the Secondary Education Improvement Project.
They used part of the money to train teachers among others. I congratulate them for going for that money and using it for a good purpose. With all the availability of funds, the NDC was able to complete only 12 out of the 23 schools. So, even when the money was there, the NDC couldn’t complete the E-Block Schools how much more coming into power and completing them within 90 days?” he quizzed.
He said per the arrangement or plans put in place by the government, the Double-Track System will be a thing of the past in five to seven years’ time.
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