Government is expected to begin the construction of 300-bed hostel blocks in all 45 Colleges of Education starting June 1, 2022.

According to the Education Ministry’s Spokesperson, Kwasi Kwarteng, this has become necessary due to the upgrade of the colleges into four-year Bachelor of Education degree-awarding institutions.

The construction of the three-storey blocks, estimated to cost ¢485 million, is being funded by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) and the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC).

The initiative is set to help accommodate the increased number of students and improve teaching and learning, Mr Kwarteng said in a Facebook post on Monday.

In an earlier interview with the media on Friday, the Sector Minister Dr Yaw Adutwum explained that 45 local contractors will be engaged to execute the projects.

He said they are expected to complete work in 15 months, adding that the blocks would be handed over to the colleges by August, 2023.

To ensure swift delivery of the initiative, the Minister said GTEC and GETFund are making necessary attempts to mobilise a loan of at least 10 per cent of the contract sum for each contractor.

Meanwhile, the construction works will create over 2,500 direct and indirect temporary jobs for the youth.

Principals of the Colleges of Education (PRINCOF) threatened to withdraw their services over accommodation challenges.

They warned of dire consequences for teacher training if urgent steps are not taken to address what they say is an infrastructure crisis.

PRINCOF blamed the situation on the increase in student admissions without corresponding upgrade in infrastructure, following the shift from diploma to degree-awarding institutions.

“With the three-year diploma, we were managing with just three core, and even with that, accommodation was a big problem. That is not adequate to prepare them for the kind of teachers we want to produce in the 21st century.

“Before implementing the four-year B. Ed programme, principals did advise the Ministry and the then Minister to tread cautiously. Our position was that government should defer the implementation from 2018 to 2019 so that some basic infrastructure will take care of the numbers that would come up in the years, but that advice was not worked on,” he noted.

Some believe the re-introduction of the trainee allowances has equally contributed to the high numbers of intake.

Founding President of policy think tank IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, has advocated the scrap of the allowances in order to free up funds for infrastructure expansion in the colleges.

“Let people take loans and pay back. That is what we all did when we went to the university. I don’t see why I should be feeding grown up people wanting to be teachers and at the same time giving them money for attendance.

“I don’t think that is a good use of our money, either scrap or reorder the payment of these allowances through the private means,” Mr Cudjoe suggested.

This suggestion has been opposed by the Education Ministry.