Double-track ends in three years – Education Minister
Ghanaians will have to contend with the double-track system in the administration of the Free SHS policy for the next two to three years, according to Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister of Education.
Speaking at a press briefing in Accra on Sunday, Dr Adutwum revealed a few schools have already been transitioned back into running a single-track shift system. He did not name any schools, however, which have moved back to the previous system.
The minister said the pace at which the double-track system will be phased out will depend on the construction of infrastructural projects in the majority of the second-cycle schools in Ghana. Many of these projects are in various degrees of progress.
The minister went on: “Those that are double-track are seeing more infrastructure expansion. In some schools, double-track is no longer there. There are a number of schools where double-track is being eliminated because they have enough facilities. We are going to live the president’s promise of 5 to 7 years to eliminate double track. Now it has come down to about 2 to 3 years, and most schools will be out of the double-track calendar.”
The flagship policy of the Nana Akufo-Addo-government has come under intense scrutiny over the last few months especially due to concerns of parents and educators that have been platformed in various sections of the Ghanaian media.
The double-track system is supposed to accommodate an increase in enrollments. Students are expected to have more contact hours with teachers with smaller class sizes as well as avoid the repercussions of overcrowding in the dormitories and other spaces in the school.
Although it is seen as the key to the president’s re-election in 2020, the viability of the Free SHS policy has been relitigated since the beginning of this year.
At the end of May, while receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Cape Coast (UCC), the president accused one media house of launching a campaign against the policy.
In December of last year, the government announced that an estimated amount of GHS20 million had been budgeted as expenditure for the government’s tertiary scholarship programme for the first graduates of the policy.
The amount set aside is to cater for 15,000 beneficiaries for the 2020/2021 academic year.
A statement from the Ghana Scholarship Secretariat indicated that the scholarship covers academic facility user fees for all accredited public and private local tertiary institutions. This was to ensure an appreciable number of Ghanaians do not end their education journeys after the second-cycle levels.