He said 123 schools were under construction but claimed that he could not complete all of them before the December 7 general election, confirming skeptics’ perception on the grandiose promise.
“In my next term of office, by the grace of God, we will complete all the 200 new senior high schools that I promised. As I said, currently, 123 are under construction, and that means that the Central Region will receive additional secondary schools among the remaining over 70 schools that we shall build,” he stated.
President Mahama made this known during the inauguration of the Abodoman Community Day Senior High School in the Agona East District of the Central Region yesterday.
The school forms part of the 200 community day schools that President Mahama promised to establish during his four-year term in office.
So far, less than 20 of such schools have been completed.
But Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a deputy minister of Education, believes that about 70 of the schools will be ready to admit fresh students in the current academic year.
He told Citi Fm yesterday that 70 of the schools would admit students, contradicting the president’s 123 schools.
In June this year DAILY GUIDE published that the ambitious promise by the president was not possible, quoting an unnamed source, but the paper was as usual bashed by National Democratic Congress (NDC) communicators.
200 SHS Pledge
As at June, the Mahama-led government had completed and commissioned less than 25 out of the 200 community day SHSs it promised and the World Bank was sponsoring 23 of the 200 school project with the rest being financed by the Government of Ghana.
Reported lack of resources has conspired to rob the project of its progress.
Most of the commissioned schools were the World Bank-funded ones while the Ghana government ones are struggling for completion because of unavailability of funds – the reason the president cannot fulfill his campaign promise of 200 schools – which has been pegged at 70 by Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
Interestingly, the NDC government has not yet been able to tell Ghanaians the actual cost of each of the completed schools, not to talk of the entire 200.
President Mahama said in Agona East that the academic year was about to start and that the inauguration of the school would benefit a lot of people in and around the community.
He, therefore, called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to start admitting students in all the completed schools so that more children could get access to education.
President Mahama hinted that the region would receive additional community day school in addition to the ones in the 14 districts.
He mentioned the 14 districts which have benefited from the programme as Ekumfi, Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese (AAK) Denkyira West and East, Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abram (KEEA) Municipality, Mfantseman Municipality, Gomoa East, Awutu Senya West, Effutu, Ajumako-Enyan-Essaim (AEE) District, Hemang-Lower-Denkyira and Twifo Atti Morkwa.
He disclosed that plans were underway for the extension of the ‘progressively free policy’ to cover 120,000 boarding students.
He promised to create more metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in the country.
President Mahama hinted that government had received a number of requests from the citizens to that effect but fell short of how soon the implementation would be.
“Principal constitutional mandate for creating new districts rests with the Electoral Commission since it has to work with the recommendation from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. I want to assure you that more districts would be created but in a comprehensive manner and your area would not be left out,” he added.
He donated a school bus and a pick-up to run the activities of the school.
He pointed out that all the community day schools would benefit from the pick-up and the bus.
The paramount chief of Agona Nyakrom, Nana Nyarko Aku X, appealed to President Mahama to create a new district in the area to be called Agona Central.