The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has given a six-month ultimatum to churches worshipping in classrooms in public basic schools in the metropolis and other peri-urban communities to stop the practice.
According to the Metropolitan Chief Executive of the AMA, Dr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, failure to comply with the directive would compel the city authority to deal with such churches according to the law.
He has, therefore, advised them to find alternative places of worship within the metropolis before the end of the stipulated period, adding that, “The assembly will not condone their activities at the end of the period given”.
Dr Vanderpuije was speaking at a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of a millennium city school at the St Joseph’s Anglican Cluster of Schools at Bubiashie in Accra yesterday.
He noted with concern that the continuous use of the classrooms for mid-week and weekend worship by the churches had resulted in the destruction of property such as desks, affecting academic activities of the schools.
“We want a peaceful transition without confrontations whatsoever. Therefore, we will advise that any church engaged in this act should bring everything to an end and prepare for the next six months in order to hand over to the school and city authorities,” he added.
The Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (STMDGES) also recently gave a directive to churches worshipping in basic schools to desist from the act.
Even though some religious groups in the region disagreed with the order, the STMDGES and the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) refused to rescind their decision.
When completed, the 18-unit classroom block will have computer and science laboratories and a library stocked with the necessary materials for the students.
This is the second millennium city school to be built in the Okaikwei Sub Metro, which is one of the sub metros to benefit from the 200 schools to be built in the metropolis by the AMA.
Already, 11 out of the total number have been completed and commissioned, while 104 are under construction.
In the next one month, Dr Vanderpuije stated, the assembly would start the construction of 12 more schools at a cost of GH¢ 30 million provided by the AMA.
He called on religious authorities running schools in the country to collaborate with the government to ensure a better educational system in the country.
“The time has come for the owners of mission schools and government to join forces to ensure the smooth running of the various schools in the country,” he said.
The mayor called on the public to also recognise the good things the assembly was doing, “and not only focus on criticisms”.
In a short address, a representative of the Anglican Church in Accra, Venerable Major Ebenezer N.A. Laryea, expressed appreciation to the city authorities for agreeing to construct the school on the compound of the church.
For her part, the Metropolitan Director of Education, Mrs Angela Tena Mensah, thanked the mayor for playing a pivotal role to move education to greater heights in the country.