Panelists at an education dialogue have appealed to stakeholders to support the government’s double track system despite its teething challenges.
They contended that since the policy was irreversible, it must be supported by all to ensure its take off in September.
“It can’t be disputed that wider consultations with stakeholders have not been made but let us help psych the children and prepare them for the programme”, they said.
The panellists were speaking at the Daily Graphic National Dialogue on Education Policy in Cape Coast last Thursday.
The dialogue, on the theme: “Unpacking the double-track system: Implications for sustainable financing and prospects for educational quality in Ghana”, was sponsored by STAR Ghana, the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with Ahomka FM, ATL FM and Coastal TV as media partners.
It was attended by civil society organisations, stakeholders in education and media organisations.
A Research Fellow at the Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (IEPA), University of Cape Coast (UCC), Dr Michael Boakye Yiadom, who led the discussion, said when the government first announced the policy, many were those who were apprehensive because wider consultations had not been made among the key stakeholders.
“To the extent that the government says it would work and it has started, let’s spend time preparing the children to adjust to the new system”, he stressed.
He said the policy was about the children who were the future leaders adding that “if the programme fails it would affect the future of the children”.
For his part, the Dean, Faculty for Educational Foundation, UCC, Prof. Eric Nyarko Sampson, said it was important at this stage to focus attention on the children who would be the beneficiaries of the programme.
He said it was the government’s quest to resolve the challenges confronting the free Senior High School (FSHS) programme that the double-track system was being adopted against all other options.
“If we say only 400 schools out of 659 schools have been selected to run the programme, then we can say we are not in a bad state”, he added.
Prof. Sampson, who is also the Board Chair, National Teaching Council, called on leadership of teacher unions to buy into the programme to ensure its sustenance.
“Our children are currently in precarious positions now and any shift in the position of the government would destabilise the programme, a decision that would invariably affect the children”, he said.
A former Headmaster of Mfantsipim School, Mr Koame Mieza Edjah, underscored the need for the government to take inventory of all uncompleted projects in schools and complete them to accommodate the children.
“It is the responsibility of all of us to ensure that the programme succeeds. It is about our children, hence the need for all to embrace it”, he said.
A former Director of Education, Madam Vivian Etroo, stressed the need for the Ministry of Education to shed more light on the vacation intervention classes.
She said there was the need to educate stakeholders on how the vacation classes for the double track system would be handled and where it would take place to enable them to adequately prepare for it.