NUGS to Akufo-Addo: Prioritise basic school infrastructure development

NUGS students made the request for infrastructure through their leader, Dennis Appiah Larbi-Ampofo, when he led a delegation of student representatives to pay a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo

The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has called on the government to give priority to the construction and development of infrastructure facilities in basic schools across the country.

NUGS executives made the request yesterday (31 August 2022) through their leader, Dennis Appiah Larbi-Ampofo, when he led a delegation to pay a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at Jubilee House in Accra.

“Over the last few years, as a country, we have appreciated when it comes to basic school enrolment. We have gotten up to about 95%, but we still have a critical issue in rural areas and that is basic school infrastructure,” Larbi-Ampofo said in his address.

“Your government has been tremendous when it comes to senior high school and tertiary support.

“Mr President, on the behalf of the people across the corners and quarters of this country, we are begging you that, going forward, if it is possible (which I know it is … ) we should prioritise basic school infrastructure,” Larbi-Ampofo said.

President Akufo-Addo meets with the NUGS leadership team


Appropriate call

President Akufo-Addo, in his response to the request by NUGS, said that it is a call in the right direction, considering that Ghana has experienced a sharp increase in levels of enrolment into basic schools.

“I think that the emphasis that you are placing on the need for us to prioritise basic school infrastructure is a good emphasis.

“All those who are involved in the thinking and practice of educational policy will always tell you that the critical work is done at the basic level,” President Akufo-Addo said.

He argued that an effective basic school system is vital to this end because the rest (secondary and tertiary levels) will follow as a matter of course if the basic level is well catered for.

Challenges to School Feeding Programme 

On the government’s school feeding initiative, the NUGS president noted that there is disquiet on the student front because the resources allocated to the programme are inadequate.

He called on President Akufo-Addo to give more attention to the programme and to sustain it as a matter of priority, particularly because of its bearing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals of ending hunger and promoting health and well-being.

“Young people who benefit from the School Feeding Programme are complaining and the complaint is very simple: that the amount of money earmarked for [it] is woefully inadequate.

“My last checks clearly reveal that it is less than a cedi [per head]. It takes a magician to feed anybody in this country with less than a cedi.

“We are begging you and your good office to look at it, and it must be quick,” the NUGS leader said.

President Akufo-Addo in a group picture with the NUGS leaders


Pledge to address concerns

President Akufo-Addo reacted to the questions from NUGS about school feeding and other matters such as delays in releasing nurses’ training allowances, the financing of the “No Guarantor Student Loan Scheme” and payment of bursaries for both local and foreign scholarships.

He said that in spite of the obvious economic challenges the country is experiencing, the government will do its best to address them.

“I think they are legitimate matters you have put before us,” the president said. “They are serious … and I think that they are matters that we need to deal with.”

Wilberforce Asare

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