How realistic and sustainable is development pioneered with little or no target population’s involvement and participation through communication in a democratic society? This paper explores the nature of development communication in two projects in the education sector of Ghana - Community Day Senior High School (SHS) project and Free SHS policy, with focus on engagements during formulation, implementation and evaluation. In the wake of increasing concerns about the efficacy of development policies, programmes and projects in Ghana, some attention has focused on the kind of participatory communication that takes place around the formulation, implementation and evaluation of such projects. Methodologically, the research focuses on government authorities (funding actors), community members – youths (students), traditional and opinion leaders. These respondents were strategically chosen using purposive sampling, allowing interviews and focus groups in data gathering. Data collected and reviewed suggest low participation of some stakeholders with little or no knowledge of the needs and preferences of the intended beneficiaries. The results show a clear departure from a functional democratic practices of involvement, engagement, consultation, and collaborative decision-making processes between development authorities and beneficiaries of policies, programmes and projects, a situation that could best be described as ‘shielded dictatorship’ in a developing nation like Ghana that is considered the trailblazer of democracy in Africa. This situation can seriously jeopardize project and policy successes leading to retarded sustainable development hence the need to ensure a more shared decision-making techniques by adequately involving beneficiaries in management of policies and projects from start to finish.