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Govt Clarifies Issues On Classroom Block Constructions
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Government has clarified the misconception in the public domain on the disparities in the cost of construction of a six-unit classroom blocks for both the Basic Schools and the Senior High Schools (SHS) across the country.

At a press briefing series in Accra, the Minister for Education, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, specified that the figures she stated in Parliament, in response to a question posed by a Member of Parliament, was not the general cost incurred for all structures, indicating that the differences had to do with a myriad of factors.

In his submission, the Acting Managing Director of the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL), Mr Louis Satchmo A. Atongo explained the Ministers statement and indicated that the variations in determining the cost of construction were based on design, specification and location as well as the type structure.

Giving the background to designs for classroom blocks, Mr Atongo stated that the first batch was awarded as far back as 2003, based on the design from the Ministry of Education for a six-unit classroom block for Basic Schools, of which four were constructed in each Assembly.

Mr Atongo explained that by 2006 when the project was implemented, there was public reaction over the size of the classrooms, and the AESL was tasked to expand them in order to increase the number of pupils for each classroom, in view of this, new variations of classroom blocks with office, library, store and toilet facilities were added to the various project designs.

The Government, he said, approved the construction of six unit classroom blocks for Senior High Schools at prices ranging from GH220,000.00 to GH283,000.00, depending on the locations and site conditions. He noted that one cannot compare the six-unit classroom blocks meant for SHS with that for Basic Schools, without taking into consideration the size and number of rooms and facilities, type of materials used and location of structures.

He then outlined the comparative prices of materials prevailing then and now, as well as the structure and finishing of Basic Schools and that of SHS, such as roofing sheets used, electrical installations, tiling of washrooms, provision of water closets facilities, use of naco louvers, plywood for ceiling, terrazzo floor for gross floor area of 423 and 6554 square meters for Basic and SHS respectively.

The Deputy Minister for Education, Mr Mahama Ayariga, in an answer to a question, explained that development partners have different approaches to specific projects. He pointed out that in some areas the communities provided labour which cut down the cost and made them part owners of the projects. This he explained goes a long way to secure maintenance.

Meanwhile, Mrs Mould -Iddrisu has reassured the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) that her Ministry is in consultation with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) to ensure that there are no disruptions with their migration unto the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS).

She said that very soon, the FWSC would come out with the schedule for migration, adding that they would facilitate the discussions on issues raised, to avert agitations or strikes that disrupt the academic term.
Source: ISD (Larry George Botchway & Chantal Aidoo)

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