The VALCO Trust Fund is targeting the construction of 5,403 basic schools across the country in the next five years.
The initiative is to help eliminate schools under trees and provide conducive teaching and learning environment for pupils, students and teachers.
Mr Kelvin Kwaku Yeboah, the Acting Executive Director of the Fund, who disclosed this at the launch of the VALCO Trust Fund Schools Under Trees Project in Accra on Tuesday, said the schools comprised 2,417 schools under trees and 2,986 schools in deplorable conditions nationwide.
He said the project would be undertaken at a total cost of GHC3.5 billion.
Addressing the press, Mr Yeboah said as an organization, which had contributed enormously to the educational sector over the years, it was unhappy with the current state of basic educational infrastructure in the country.
He said it was disheartening that after more than 60 years of independence, children in Ghana continued to grapple with having access to quality basic education.
Mr Yeboah said while Article 25 (a) of the 1992 Constitution, the Education Act (2008) and Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme guaranteed every child the right to access free, accessible and basic compulsory education, there existed massive disparities in educational infrastructure between children from less endowed communities and those from urban areas.
“Our plan is that within the next five years, no single child should sit under a tree or in a very deplorable structure to access education,” he said.
Giving the breakdown for the construction of the schools, the Executive Director said 500 kindergarten (KG) schools under trees, two deplorable Junior High Schools (JHS) and one deplorable primary school would be constructed by the end of December 2021, with 1,259 others, comprising 489 KG, 250 JHS and 52 Primary schools expected to be constructed by end of 2022.
Additionally, 1,259 schools for the under tree schools and deplorable schools made up of 450 KG, 311 JHS and 498 primary schools would be completed by 2023.
“Again, from January to December 2024, we will construct additional 1,259 schools for both the under-tree schools and deplorable schools. This will also comprise 390 kindergarten schools, 123 JHS and 764 primary schools and lastly, from January to December 2025, we will construct the last batch of 1,126 schools for both under trees and deplorable schools. This will also comprise 174 KG and 952 primary schools,” Mr Yeboah added.
The project is being carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Energy and Real Estate Times Africa.
He said even though the Fund was under financial stress due to the struggling of its funding organisation, the Volta Aluminum Company Limited, it had earmarked GHC6.8 million for the commencement of the first 18 schools, while additional funding would be sourced from Ghanaians for the remaining 482 schools.
He called on government officials, Members of Parliament, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, as well as private institutions and the public, to support the project through donations to ensure its realisation.
“In view of this, we have set up a VALCO Trust Fund schools under trees project account with Ghana Commercial Bank, Consolidated Banks Ghana (CBG), OmniBsic Bank Limited and Universal Merchant Bank Ghana Limited.
“Also, we have set up a Mobile Money Account with two telecommunication companies which are Airteltigo Account (VALCO TRUST FUND- 0270277900) and Vodafone Account (VALCO TRUST FUND –0505518328),” he said.
Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, Director-General, GES, commended the Trust for the project and assured them of GES’ support towards its realisation.
Mr Lawrence Apaalse, the Chief Director at the Ministry of Energy, said it had urged agencies under the Ministry to support the project as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
The Trust is expected to cut sod at the Kambonyisa D/A KG School in the Karaga District of the Northern Region for the construction of 15 KG, two JHS and one primary school on Friday, June 21.