Accra, Feb. 24, GNA- Parliament on Tuesday adopted the Report of the Joint Committee on Finance and Education for an amount of 29.2 million dollars from the African Development Fund (ADF) to finance the Senior Secondary School (SSS) Development Project.
The credit facility, calculated in 20 million Unit of Accounts, is to enhance the quality of teaching, provide textbooks and raise the level of HIV/AIDS awareness among teachers and students. It is to assist in rehabilitating one Senior Secondary School in each of the 110 districts. Twenty-five schools including Peki Secondary School in the Kpando district, Bole Secondary School in the Bole district and Zebilla Secondary Technical School in the Bawku West district are among the initial beneficiaries of the project.
The credit to be disbursed over a five-year period with effect from January 1, this year, to December 31, 2009, has no interest rate and has a grace period of 10 years with 40 years maturity period.
Moving a motion for the adoption of the report, Mr. James Adusei-Sarkodie, Chairman of the Committee on Education said the objectives of the project were in conformity with the African Development Bank's (ADB's) Education Sector policy, which "calls for a holistic approach to the development of education and puts emphasis on the provision of middle level skills through technical and vocational secondary education."
"The overall purpose... is to contribute to the provision of uninterrupted quality education by increasing access and efficiency of Senior Secondary Education in deprived area."
The Committee Chairman said the Ghana Education Service (GES) would be the executing agency for the project and a core project implementation team would be constituted to spearhead and plan the project's implementation activities.
"Some of the areas to be tackled under the project include the rehabilitation, expansion and equipping of core academic facilities and dormitories in order to raise these schools to an appreciable standard to be determined by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports," he said.
Mr. Adusei Sarkodie listed the level of enrolment student population and admission pressure on schools as some criteria for the selection of beneficiary school.
Alhaji Ali Amadu, NDC-Atebubu, South, praised government's effort in securing the loan but said the mode for the selection of beneficiaries should be properly done saying, an agriculture school in his constituency was doing well but was not selected. Mr. Adusei-Sarkodie said the project was ongoing and every district would benefit from the project.
Mr. Norbert Awulley, NDC-Builsa -South, said it was wrong to form a core team to oversee the implementation of the project since GES already has a unit to assist in that direction.
Mr. Prince Odoru-Mensah, NPP-Techiman South, said the credit facility was a good and it would go a long way in enhancing vocational and technical education which would help deal with manpower needs. He said schools, which were not selected under the project should benefit in the same way from the GETFUND.
Dr. Kwame Ampofo, NDC-South Dayi, said it was good news that Peki Secondary School was a beneficiary of the project since the school was unable to retain teachers because they lacked teachers' bungalows. Kwabena Adusa Okerchiri, NPP-Nkawkaw, said under the project, underprivileged schools would now be able to rob shoulders with schools such as Achimota Secondary School.
Mr. Moses Dani-Baah, Deputy Minister of Health, said the development of human resource was very important and there was the need to work on schools which were collapsing.