Achieving 200 New SHS Promise… DCEs Must Supervise Projects

Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Ga South Municipal Assembly (GASMA) in the Greater Accra region, Jerry Kwei Thompson, has urged colleague district, municipal and metropolitan chief executives across the country to welcome the decision by the president to construct new Senior High Schools (SHSs) in various districts in the country and supervise the projects.

This, he said, will help speed up work at the various construction sites and allow timely completion of the projects, thus facilitating the president’s vision of implementing the progressive free SHS in the country.

“The Assemblies or the districts where the projects have been allocated or sited, the chief executives must also have interest in it because after all, it’s their responsibilities to put up these schools so if the central government is coming in to help them, then they [chief executives] should own it…,” he said.

Mr. Akwei Thompson made these observations in an interview with Today in Accra.

President John Dramani Mahama during the presentation of the annual State of the Nation address on the floor of Parliament on February 25th, 2014 re-echoed his campaign promise to build 200 new SHSs in the country and subsequently cut sod for work to begin as such on March 3.

This vision of the President, the MCE described, as laudable and something that would help facilitate the progressive introduction of the free SHS which the Constitution of the country stipulates.

He however maintained that the vision cannot see the light of day without the effective support of the representatives of the president at the local level.

He called for a 24-hour supervision of the projects by chief executives pointing out that, contractors, when not under strict supervision, have the tendency of delivering shoddy jobs.

Mr. Akwei Thompson disclosed that his municipality will have two out of the two hundred schools to be constructed by 2016.

The two schools, the MCE said, will be sited in various locations in the district to serve the secondary and vocational needs of the indigenes of the district.

“We have secured the land for them. One is at Kwaku Pamfo which would serve students from Obom, Domfase, Domeabra and surrounding communities. And the other is at Danchira area…,” he disclosed.

One of the schools, he added, will be used for vocational-technical training of BECE graduands who may not be interested in secondary education.

Displaying a copy of indentures on the said lands to this reporter, Mr. Akwei Thompson said the assembly as a means of ensuring the welfare of teachers to be posted to the district has also allocated portions of the soon-to-be developed lands to the construction of teachers’ quarters.

The building plan for the SHSs would be one and would come from the central government to ensure that the nation cuts cost during the construction.

On free SHS, the MCE said President Mahama never condemned the idea during the 2012 campaign, but added that he, unlike Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP,) thought it cannot be immediate.

“Did he condemn free Senior Secondary Education,? he did not but he said [should be done] progressively,” adding that the NPP flag-bearer could not have provided it immediately as he said, especially as his party was not in government to know of the financial standings of the country.

Like President Mahama, he said the idea of free SHS was never bad but the timing was just wrong.

With the ministry of education tasking all district chief executives and the team of district educational supervisors to start serious supervision, he was convinced that quality education would be achieved soon.

He disclosed that the Ga South came out eleventh in the national ranking performance of BECE and was bold to state that the municipality placed first in the whole of Greater Accra.

All these, he said, were as a result of supervision and praised the Municipal Director of Education for Ga South, Mrs. Florence Addo, for constantly being at schools to ensure the right things are done.”

He added the time was apt for Ghanaians to develop their sense of patriotism and deliver their best for the country as is done elsewhere in the world.