Ghana needs a whopping $200 million to renovate dilapidated basic school structures across the country, Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh has said.
According to him, the country is sitting on a time-bomb and needs urgent action to renovate these structures.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament, Tuesday, the Minister said 20 of such deplorable schools are currently receiving attention as the country begins the execution of emergency projects across the country.
One of the 20 includes, the deadly Breman Jamra School building which collapsed and killed six pupils early January.
His response comes at a time when Joy News has revealed that pupils of Breman Jamra have been relocated to yet another death-trap structure as the Assembly races against time to renovate the old structure.
Joy News’ Justice Baidoo who followed up on the tragic Breman Jamra school building disaster reported the community may well be thrown into another disaster if nothing is done about the present classroom block into which the pupils have been relocated.
Under a leaky roof, and in a cracked building the pupils are unable to concentrate and study. What they do is to live in fear of experiencing the same disaster which led to the death of six other pupils in January this year.
The DCE of Odoben Brakwa Isaac Odoom confirmed the poor state of the building into which the pupils have been relocated but promised the old structure which collapsed on the school pupils will be completed in a week’s time.
When completed, the pupils will be brought back into the renovated building, he promised.
When the disaster happened in January, the Education Minister Mathew Opoku Prempeh visited the site and promised a quick fix solution to assuage the pain of the community members.
After more than four months, questions have been asked about the commitment of the government and the minister in providing solution to the problem.
On the floor of Parliament, the Minister minced no words about his commitment to resolve the deadly infrastructural challenges bedeviling basic schools across the country.
“My first assignment unfortunately as a Minister of Education was to attend to a collapsed school building in the Central Region. Very deplorable.
“We have done a comprehensive review of all these structures and we need a massive injection of funds to be able to attend to them.
“We are coming up with a tender to rehabilitate the serious ones, about 20 of them.
“…It’s a sitting time-bomb that we have to address and avert our minds to. So the government, I know for a fact is taking urgent steps to secure funding. It is going to cost us in a region of $200 million to fix it,” he said.
As a first step to solving the problem, he said they have indicated in the GETFund formula, emergency projects that have to be attended to as urgently as possible.
The ranking member on the Education Committee of Parliament, Peter Notsu Kotoe said the country needs some international assistance in terms of funding to be able to resolve the problem.
He suspects the infrastructural defects are so widespread, the $200 million referred to by the minister will not be enough.
He called for a roadmap and urgent steps to be taken to address the problem.