The Government of Ghana and the World Bank Group signed a $156 million financing agreement to improve access to secondary education in deprived communities across the country.
The grant was to support the Ghana Secondary Education Improvement Project, which aimed to enroll 30,000 new students in secondary schools, improve learning outcomes for 150,000 students in low-performing schools, and enhance the capacity of 2000 senior high school (SHS) teachers, headteachers and other education officials.
The $156-million project was intended to be implemented over a six-year period (2014-2019).
It was planned to use a results-based financing approach. Funds were only to be released based on the achievement of specific results expected to help Ghana see improved educational outcomes in an equitable manner.
The project was to help expand access to education through the construction of 23 standard four-storey classroom blocks dubbed ‘E-Blocks’, laboratories, toilets, teachers’ flat, head teacher’s bungalow, technical and vocational blocks, where necessary, and other core structures and furniture/inputs.
The buildings are called “E-Blocks” because they’re designed in the shape of the letter “E”.
In addition to the World Bank loan, the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), in 2018, requested the utilisation of 40 percent of its revenue to secure a loan of US$1.5 billion to be used for the provision of educational infrastructure.
In the Upper West Region, Joseph Kwaku Kpormegbey investigated the status of the uncompleted E-Block projects at Dorimon, Naro and Zini, as well as an assembly hall complex project at Lawra, which is different from the ‘E-Block’ project.
At Zini in the Sissala West District, the E-Block project, which began in 2015, has been abandoned, although it is almost completed.
“Who are you to go and ask the government why it has been stopped. We have appealed through the district assembly and some politicians since it’s a political affair but there is no response. So who are we going to ask,” Wajiwie Mensah, an elder in the community and representative of the Chief of Zini, has many questions unanswered.
A native of Zini, Issifu Abubakar Bannu, said due to the lack of a senior high school in the community, his four children travel to Tumu and Wallembele, about 62-kilometre journey, to access secondary education.
At Dorimon in the Wa West District, the ‘E‐Block’ project started in 2014 and was expected to be completed in 2019 but it has been abandoned in the bushes of the town.
According to the caretaker, Beliratu, she has lived on the project site for six years without seeing any progress.
Pointing to a new building some 100 metres away, she said that was the new senior high school built by the Akufo-Addo administration in 2020 but it is yet to be commissioned for use.
Currently, senior high school students in Dorimon are left with the option of using an abandoned ICT centre that has been converted into a classroom, or travelling to Wechiau, about 40 kilometres away, to access secondary education.
As a result, some of the students have relocated to Wechiau in order to save themselves the trouble of travelling that long distance daily to and from school.
A foundation guarded by weeds is all that exists for the ‘E-Block’ project at Naro in the Nadowli-Kaleo District.
Mats and pillars of iron rods bound together for the project have been left at the mercy of the weather.
The case of Lawra Secondary School in the Lawra District is not about E-Block project but an assembly hall complex project staggering in execution.
The Headmaster and the Senior House Master both declined to comment on the project unless permission was sought from the Regional Education Director.
However, a student of the school (name withheld) confirmed that work on the project sometimes halts for months.
At the time of visiting the project site, there were heaps of sand and gravel, as well as bags of cement on the site.
Source: The Fourth Estate