An assessment of educational infrastructural needs: a case study of Junior Secondary Schools in the Keta district, Ghana

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The messenger is the message. I don’t know whether this can be applied to education and development, hut the reception of the message that education is the key to development is certainly long over due. India one of the world’s fast growing economies today consented to the wed lock as far back as 1964 when the Education Commission Reported (India, 1964) stated that; “The destiny of India is now being shaped in her classrooms. This, we believe, is no mere rhetoric. . . it is education that determines the level of prosperity, welfare and security of the people”. This was of course years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights laid down (in 1948) that everyone has the right to education. Many governments have since come up with very beautiful policies on education. Whether they are mere rhetoric is another question. In Ghana, government plans to achieve free compulsory education by the year 2000 (NDPC, 1995). Education is also said to attract relatively high budget allocations. In Ghana, education took almost one-fourth (24 per cent) of the total government spending between 1991 and 1995 (NDPC, 1995). This is all well and fine. The issue however is the achievements of these budgetary allocations on the ground and the implementation on the ground of the beautiful policies. This is certainly no mean task for any government with limited financial (and managerial) resources. Failure to carry this out well can result in countless effects in the 70’s there was a remarkable decline in education in this country (Ghana). Today, strike actions in the education sector are common place in most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (including Ghana) for many reasons. It will however be most unfortunate if the issue of basic education and policies such as the free compulsory education are allowed to suffer such effects (again). It is to be noted that the current educational reforms were in response to the former effect. Quite apart from that however, one would not run short of justifications for the educational reform. In a growing economy like Ghana, demand and supply of education is certainly a key issue. Vocationalising part of Basic education under the Junior Secondary School concept is therefore just apt. The Reform Educational Programme launched by the PNDC Government in I 87 has indeed brought many improvements to the educational sector in the country, but the provision and maintenance of basic education school infrastructure (among others) have not received the attention and support it deserves. One does not need a survey to see that the educational infrastructures for basic education are as inadequate as they are poor in most parts of the country. The school participation rate in the country for tertiary level education is 2 per cent: 38 per cent for secondary level and a relatively good 77 per cent for the primary level (NDPC, 1995), but unfortunately lacking adequate infrastructure to sustain or make it grow. Achieving the free compulsory education by the year 2000 against such a background definitely requires an assessment of the educational infrastructure. This study has however limited itself to the educational infrastructural needs of the Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) in the Keta district. The state of the JSS infrastructure in Keta district is as in other parts of the country poor. In view of this, the research will seek: 1. to examine the existing educational infrastructure in the district, 2. to assess the state of the Junior Secondary schools (JSS) in the district; the enrolment and the spatial distribution, 3. to assess the current and future demand of educational infrastructural needs of ,JSS in the district, and local participation in the provision of’ these educational needs in the district, and 4. to make recommendations of realistic strategies with regard to the provision and maintenance of adequate educational infrastructure for the district’s Junior Secondary Schools to ensure the success of the new educational reforms in the district. The study revealed that educational infrastructure is indeed poor in the district, partly because the local communities (District Assemblies) whom government has shifted the responsibility of providing and maintaining basic education schools is not economically adequate to the task in its entirety. Their inadequate contribution is however making a great deal of difference and hence a key issue. The idea of client communities is splendid, and should the communities be resuscitated through the various other development programmes, and their participation monitored, a lot of success would be achieved.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science in Development Planning and Management, 1996