Valco Trust Fund outdoors project to eliminate all under tree, deplorable schools: Full text
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Valco Trust Fund outdoors project to eliminate all under tree, deplorable schools: Full text




By Jerry Akornor 

Volco Trust Fund says it is determinKed to eliminate every basic school under tree and , those that are in deplorable state to improve infrastructure in five years at a cost of GHC 3.5Billion.


The newly launched project with support from Ghana Education Service, Education Ministry and Energy Ministry is expected to address the aged-old problem of poor and dilapidated infrastructure at basic schools in Ghana, creating long-existing overcrowding amid congestion. It is against this background that the Valco Trust Fund is embarking on the novel intervention to improve schools' infrastructure aimed at ensuring quality education for the Ghanaian child. 

Speaking at a press conference to outdoor the elimination of schools under trees project in Accra, Acting Executive Director Kelvin Kwaku Yeboah appealed to state institutions, NGOs, philanthropists, Corporate Ghana and other benevolent organizations to contribute their quota to compliment their efforts to execute the project.

BELOW IS THE SPEECH DELIVERED BY KELVIN KWAKU YEBOAH, THE AG. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE VALCO TRUST FUND IN RESPECT OF THE ELIMINATION OF ALL SCHOOLS UNDER TREES AND DEPLORABLE SCHOOL STRUCTURES IN GHANA.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I thank you all for being present and to provide coverage for this important press conference in respect of the elimination of all basic schools under trees and all deplorable basic school structures in every part of the country, Ghana. 


Ladies and Gentlemen, Valco Trust Fund is a charitable institution set up by Edgar KAISER, then owners of Volta Aluminum Company Limited (VALCO) in October 1971. Per the arrangement, Volta Aluminum Company Limited was obliged to make as annual contribution, a portion of its earnings into the Valco Trust Fund. The creation of this VALCO TRUST FUND was the outcome of an understanding between the then President Kwame Nkrumah representing the Government of Ghana and The Volta Aluminum Company Limited (VALCO). This arrangement constituted a novel relationship between a big international company called VALCO and a developing country called Ghana. It was novel because in addition to the payment of Taxes by Volta Aluminum Company Limited (VALCO) as a company operating in Ghana, the arrangement was for VALCO to provide an annual payment into the TRUST FUND which shall be used for education and science and for charitable purposes or projects of direct benefits to the sovereign people of Ghana.


Ladies and Gentlemen, the objectives of VALCO TRUST FUND were in the advancement of Education and Science for the benefit of the people of Ghana and the carrying out of such Social and Development projects that are charitable in purpose and as in the judgement of the fund, shall be beneficial to the good people of Ghana.


Ladies and Gentlemen, for the past fifty years the fund has undertaken several projects across the length and breadth of the country. Every sector in our national life as a country has benefited from the VALCO TRUST FUND. Some of the projects are the following:


Schools and Colleges Transportation Projects – this project was started in 1981 at a time when lack of means of transportation was the most common and biggest source of worry to the second cycle institutions. The objective of this project has been to assist with the transportation needs of every secondary school and training college in the country.


Science Equipment for Schools and Colleges -This project was to assist all public second cycle institutions with the basic science equipment and related teaching materials and it was started in 1979.Up to 1998, a total amount of GHS59,000 (C590million old cedis) had been expended on this project. Every public secondary school in the country benefited from this project.


Library Development for Schools and Colleges Project-Valco Trust Fund undertook a library Development project for all second cycle institutions in the country. The project was started in 1976 and was aimed at enabling students in the second cycle schools and colleges acquire general reading habits and also to assist the teaching personnel with reference materials not easy for the institutions to obtain. By 1998, an amount of GHS45,700 (C457million old Cedis) had been spent by the Trust Fund on this project.



Tertiary Student Accommodation Project- Valco Trust Fund also pioneered the private student accommodation project for the country’s public universities at the time. Indeed, our policy was to provide each public university with student accommodation. These include the construction of the Valco Trust Fund Hostel for the clinical students at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. It was built in 1987 at a cost of GHS7,300. (C73million old Cedis) Also, we built the Valco Trust Fund Post Graduate Students Hostel for the University of Ghana, legon. The project was started in December 1994 and completed in 1996 at a cost of GHS130,000 (C1.3billion Old Cedis). Again, we built the Valco Trust Fund Graduate Hostel for the University of Cape Coast at a cost of GHS500,000 (C5billion old Cedis).


Ladies and Gentlemen, Valco Trust Fund has been the biggest trust fund in Ghana, and we had good vision to build a better country. Apart from this, the fund also had projects in other sectors of our national life including funding of scientific research, helping the health sector, support for publications and the general economic sector.


Ladies and Gentlemen, in spite of all these achievements over the years, Valco Trust Fund has been dead for the past 20 years with no funding from our mother institution especially because our mother institution VALCO, has also been struggling for some time now. In spite of our current financial difficulties, we are still eager to help the development agenda of this country.


 Ladies and Gentlemen, despite our enormous contribution to the educational sector, just like any other ordinary Ghanaian, we have not been happy with the current state of our basic educational infrastructure and so we have decided to invest part of our small rental earnings in the basic educational space.

Ladies and Gentlemen, free, accessible, and basic compulsory education is a legal right that has been conferred on each Ghanaian child. This right is adequately provided for by the laws of country with specific reference to Article 25(a) of the 1992 Constitution and the Education Act (2008) and Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education (FCUBE) programme. The essence of these legal provisions in respect of education is to ensure every child has equal access to quality education irrespective of their geographical location.

Despite these legal provisions, there exist huge disparities in educational infrastructure between children from the less endowed communities and those from the urban areas. These disparities are broadly due to the challenges of decent school buildings for all school children.

The challenge has led many basic schoolteachers to manage with schools under trees for teaching and learning and it is prevalent in all parts of the country. There are also old and very deplorable school structures which pose challenges to the school children. These challenges which are very prevalent at the basic school level have led many schools in setting up classes under trees to provide teaching and learning for the children.


Ladies and Gentlemen, we have all been witnesses to the numerous episodes of our children schooling under trees and some in a very deplorable and humiliating school structures. In fact, in some situations the children sit or lie on the bare floor to write, some sit on piled up blocks to write and some also sit on weak wooden structures to learn. These we have all seen on TV, on social and traditional media and after seeing the videos, we lament, insult and express anger at our leaders. This unacceptable state of our basic school infrastructure which we have all been witnesses to in this country for some years now has certainly become an affront to us as a nation after 64 years of independence.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on the 5th of January,2021, I had a team from a media firm, Real Estate Times Africa Newspaper who have done some research on the state of some basic schools across the country, taken note of these schools under trees and had come to discuss the possibility of partnership in respect of how these schools under trees could be eliminated. This media firm then launched a campaign on watsap and their online platforms to collate with pictures all the schools under trees and those in deplorable conditions in the country. Through this campaign and with the help of the Ghana Education Service and some District Chief Executives, we have been able to collate data on every single school under tree and those that are in a very deplorable condition nationwide.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there are a total of 2,417 schools that are under trees and 2,986 schools that are in a very deplorable condition nationwide. 

The regional distribution for the schools under trees and those that are in deplorable condition are as follows:

REGION

UNDER TREE

DILAPIDATED


BONO EAST

330

0


NORTHERN

314

229


CENTRAL

301

0


UPPER EAST

233

63


SAVANNAH

155

5


WESTERN

154

694


ASHANTI 

149

530


AHAFO

142

117


UPPER WEST

131

115


BONO

119

202


OTI

117

99


VOLTA

101

39


EASTERN

78

131


GREATER ACCRA

63

305


WESTERN NORTH

30

388


NORTH EAST

0

69


TOTAL

2,417

2,986


In total, there are 5,403 schools under trees and deplorable School structures in Ghana as at today.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the above is further broken down into Kindergarten, Primary and JHS

School Types

DILAPIDATED

UNDER TREE


JHS

423

261


KINDERGARTEN

1,014

989


PRIMARY

1,549

1,167


Total

2,986

2,417

Ladies and Gentlemen, the school under tree phenomenon depicts two things about us as a people. It is either we are clueless about how to develop our country, or we are just a group of heartless people with no conscience for the future of our children.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in view of these, I happy to inform you that, Valco Trust Fund has taken the initiative of ensuring that there will be no schools under trees and or dilapidated structures in the country in the next five years and that we are to construct every single basic school under tree and those that are in a very deplorable condition in all parts of the country.



Ladies and Gentlemen, 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. At least, after 64 years of independence, we should as a country be able to say that in Ghana, there is no child that sits under a tree to have education. That, in our view, should be our benchmark. I guess once we can do this as a country, then we will be on the path of developing our nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the details of our plan for the construction of these schools are as follows.

From today the 1st June 2021 to 31st December,2021, we are to construct 500 Kindergarten Schools under trees, 2 deplorable JHS Schools and 1 deplorable primary School across the country. 

From January to December 2022, we will construct 1,259 Schools both for schools under trees and those with deplorable structures. This will comprise of 489 Kindergarten Schools,250 JHS and 52 Primary Schools.

From January to December 2023, we will construct additional 1,259 Schools for both the Under-tree Schools and deplorable schools. This will also comprise of 450 Kindergarten Schools,311 JHS and 498 primary Schools.

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 of 390 Kindergarten Schools,123 JHS and 746 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 of 174 Kindergarten Schools and 952 Primary Schools.   

Ladies and Gentlemen, each kindergarten school will have the following facilities: two-unit classroom (KG 1 and KG 2), canteen, modern W/C washroom, a borehole, a polytank, furniture for the children, office for teachers and a playground.

The JHS School will also have three-unit classrooms, office for the headteacher, storeroom, a partitioned staff common room for the teachers with each teacher having his /her own office, modern W/C washrooms attached to the building, furniture for students and teachers, borehole with polytank, canteen and a library.

The Primary School will also have Six Unit classrooms, office for the headteacher, storeroom, a partitioned staff common room for the teachers with each teacher having his/her own office, modern W/C washrooms attached to the building, furniture for both the pupils and teachers, borehole with polytank, canteen and a library.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the cost per unit of the three categories of basic school structures are also as follows:

A two-unit KG School with all the mentioned facilities cost GHC324,994.50. 

A three-unit JHS School with all the mentioned facilities also cost GHC 623, 076. 00.

A Six Unit Primary School with all the mentioned facilities also cost GHC 762, 931. 50.


Ladies and Gentlemen, the total amount of money we need to build the 500 Kindergarten Schools this year is GHC162,497,250.00.


For the year 2022, we will need an amount of GHC711,415,690.50 to build 1,259 Schools.


For the year 2023, we will need an amount of GHC 719,964,048.00 to build 1,259 Schools.


For the year 2024, we will need an amount of GHC 772,533,102.00 to build 1,259 Schools.


Lastly, we will need an amount of GHC782,859,831.00 for the year 2025 to build 1,126 Schools.


Ladies and Gentlemen, I must indicate that the Ministry of Energy as partners in this project and under the leadership of Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh has also contribute by supplying electricity to all the news schools to be built. This will further reduce our cost of building these schools under trees going forward.

Ladies and Gentlemen, even though, we at Valco Trust Funds do not have all the money, we are starting this project with an amount of GHC6,800,000.00 to build 18 Schools as part of the 500 schools for the year. We therefore need an extra amount of GHC155,697,250.00 to be able to build the remaining 482 Kindergarten Schools for the year. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, on Friday the 4 June of 2021, we are cutting sod for the construction of the following 15 KG Schools, 2 JHS and 1 Primary School to be built across the country. 

This sod cutting event will take place at the KAMBONYISA D/A KG School, in the Karaga District of the Northern Region.

The schools to be built from Friday June 4,2021 are the following.


NAME OF SCHOOL

DISTRICT

REGION


1

Teong KG School

Tempane

Upper East


2

Abomosu Presby Primary

Atiwa West

Eastern


3

Akrofufu R/C JHS

Atiwa West

Eastern


4

Aboabugya JHS

Kwabre South

Ashanti Region


5

Faithkope D/A KG School

Ada East

Greater Accra


6

Kambonsiya D/A KG School

 Karaga 

Northern


7

Ayitikorpe D/A KG School

Akatsi South Municipal

Volta


8

Bagro Odumase KG School

Jasikan

Oti


9

Zakum KG School

North East Gonja

Savannah


10

Gambrongo Awiadone KG

Bongo

Upper East


11

Nkwantabisa D/A KG School

Tano North Municipal

Ahafo


12

Awisa M/A KG School

Wenchi Municipal

Bono


13

Obrayeko KG

Assin Fosu

Central


14

Old Nzulezu D/A KG

Jomoro

Western


15

Kotosaa D/A KG

Juaboso

Western North


16

Yao-Yiri M/A KG

Jirapa Municipal

Upper West


17

Kparibu Marakaz E/A KG

West Manprusi

Northeast


18

Junction Mangoase D/A KG

Nkoranza North 

Bono East



Ladies and Gentlemen, as I have indicated earlier on, these 18 schools are being built with our meagre funds of GHC6,800,000.00 and that the remaining number of 482 schools are to be built by the end of 31 December 2021.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our continuous dependence on foreign donors and loans to fund our development agenda is a scar on our conscience as a sovereign nation and makes our independence very meaningless. Besides, no single individual can develop this country but all of us put together will surely develop this country. At least with a blend of leadership, commitment, transparency, innovation, hard work and individual contribution, we should be able to develop our dear country. And these are the qualities we need to put together as a nation to develop our basic school infrastructure.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we at VALCO TRUST FUND have shown the commitment by leading this project with our meagre initial amount of GHC6,800,000.00 to start with the construction of 18 Schools. Funding for the remaining 482 schools for this year shall be sourced from all Ghanaians both home and abroad as well as all well-meaning institutions. As we get more money, we will be adding on more schools until we build all the 500 Schools for the year.

In view of this, we have set up a VALCO TRUST FUND SCHOOLS UNDER TREES PROJECT ACCOUNT with the following banks and we will plead with all well-meaning institutions and individuals to donate to enable us to complete our target of building 500 Kg schools under trees in the country by end of 2021.

The banks are Ghana Commercial Bank, CBG Bank, OmniBsic Bank Limited and UMB Bank Ghana Limited.

Also, we have set up a MOMO account with two telecom companies. And the momo numbers are as follows:

 Airteltigo Account (VALCO TRUST FUND) – 0270277900

 Vodafone Account (VALCO TRUST FUND) – 050 5518328

 We are still engaging MTN to get a Momo number from them and will be shared once received.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to humbly make a passionate appeal to each and every Ghanaian as well as all well-meaning institutions to make some donations to enable all of us eliminate these schools under trees. We have the individual responsibility to help build this country. Every donation made is for our children who sits under tree or in a deplorable structure to learn.

I would also like to appeal to the residents, churches, and businesses in the communities we are building the first 18 schools to also contribute or donate something so that we can equally build the schools in all parts of the country. 


I would also like to appeal to all government officials, Members of Parliament, MMDCEs, CEs of both public and Private Institutions, businessmen and women both in the formal and informal sectors and the entire corporate Ghana to also make weekly or monthly donations towards this project. Collectively, we will be funding our own development.


Ladies and Gentlemen, let me at this point on behalf of Valco Trust Fund and on behalf of the children who sits under trees to access education, express our profound appreciation to the Minister of Energy, Hon. Mathew Opoku Prempeh for his role in helping us raise the needed funds for this project. He wholeheartedly embraced this initiative upon meeting him to discuss the project. And he has accordingly written to the CEs of all his sector agencies, Oil Marketing Companies, and Independent Power Producers to make some substantial contribution to this project which will continue for the next five years. We have accordingly received an amount of Ten Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC10,000.00) from Trojan Power Limited. 

Also, some corporate institutions within the energy sector have pledge their willingness to support this project.

 Bui Dam Authority has request for the list of schools in their catchment area.

The Association of Oil Marketing Companies has also requested for a list of these schools to be built this year for their further action.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have also personally engaged with the Chairman of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of Ghana to appeal to their members to make substantial contribution to this project. I have also met with the General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Fayoosi and appealed to him to get his members to also contribute.

I have also engaged the Managing Director of the UMB Bank, Nana Benneh Dwomoh and appealed to his bank and staff of his bank to make some contribution towards this project.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of our children who sits under trees and in a deplorable condition to learn across the nation, I would like to make a passionate appeal to every Ghanaian both home and abroad to help us achieve our objective of building 500 KG Schools this year. 

Again, I would like to make a passionate appeal to every Ghanaian who have passed through our secondary educational system, those who have lived in our various VALCO HOSTELS on our various public Universities and anybody who has also benefitted from the Valco Trust Fund to donate to support this project.

Ladies and Gentlemen, whiles we at VALCO TRUST FUND try to eliminate these schools under trees in the country, we also demand some strong leadership, commitment and actions from the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service, and the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND). 

Even though, we at VALCO TRUST FUND are leading in funding the elimination of these schools with our meagre resources and donations from the general public, the owners of these schools are the Ghana Education Service and so, in order not to have a repeat of these schools under trees in the future, we have requested from the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service to put some control measures in place to halt the reoccurrence of these schools under tree phenomenon.

Firstly, because the various district directors of education have powers to approve schools in their respective jurisdiction, a community leader or an elder in any village or community puts some ten or fifteen children together to study in an open area and then goes to the district education for approval to start a formal school and then it becomes a school under a tree. We have therefore asked the Ministry of Education as a matter of urgency, take away the approving powers of the district directors so that as we eliminate these schools under trees in the country, new schools under trees will not be coming up in the future. This would be a major setback in our development agenda.

Also, Ladies and Gentlemen, the deplorable nature of our schools have been so because of the lack of maintenance culture by us as Ghanaians. To remedy this and to prevent schools from being in very deplorable state going forward, we have requested the Ministry of Education to as a matter of urgency employ estate officers for each of the district directorate of education who will oversee the maintenance of these school infrastructures. Each Senior secondary school should also have an estate officer who will also oversee the maintenance of their school infrastructure. Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFUND) and for that matter the Ministry of Education should also make budgetary allocation for the maintenance of our school infrastructures nationwide. With regular maintenance of our buildings, the buildings will be able to last longer and will not become very deplorable as we currently see them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, to ensure transparency and openness in the project, we have asked the various banks to publish on monthly basis all donations in the respective accounts without recourse to myself or my institution.

We have together with Real Estate Times Africa and the Ministry of Education, set up a project website named, WWW.SCHOOLSUNDERTREES.COM to help each and every one track the progress of the construction of various schools’ whiles providing update on the funding received at any particular time.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have also designed some fliers with all the bank and Momo details on how to donate and these fliers have been released unto our various social media platforms and will also be found on our traditional media platforms or websites.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I end this statement by reminding all of us that Ghana is the only country we have and it’s our individual responsibility to help build it. If we cannot eliminate schools under trees 64 years after independence, then there is no point in us seeking education. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have had enough of the conferences, workshops, seminars, tours, and technical committee meetings. It is time for us to solve our national problems and it is time for us to give meaning to our independence.

Ladies and Gentlemen, before we think of going to space, let us think of addressing the basic needs of our people.

On behalf of all the Children who sits under trees and in deplorable conditions, I thank you all for your presence here. We are most grateful to you all.

God Bless Our Nation Ghana, God Bless all of Us.


Thank You.



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