An education think tank, the Centre for Educational Research and Training (CERT), has hailed the Ministry of Education for the successful implementation of the double-track system as part of government’s flagship program, the Free Senior High School (SHS).
In September 2018, government adopted and rolled out the double track (semester/sandwich) system to cater for increased enrollment under its Free SHS, due to deficit in infrastructure.
A statement issued by the group and signed by Emmanuel Ofosuhene, Ag. Executive Director, said the timely intervention of the ministry to introduce the policy to save over 180, 000 students from missing second-cycle education is worth commending.
“The government via the ministry of Education having realized the dire consequences of the sudden surge of BECE candidates desirous of accessing secondary education; perhaps, ignited by the FSHS policy, vis a vis the perennial infrastructure deficit in our schools, quickly thought outside the box and settled on Double track as the way to go under the circumstances. But for the timely introduction of this policy, the fate of over 181,000 candidates would have been endangered as there would be no space for them to attend school.”
The think tank also applauded managers of the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) for the support in ensuring that students had placements in schools without hitches.
“CERT’s preliminary observations of the CSSPS placements of the candidates into their respective schools’ choices and the subsequent admission and enrollment of students have been generally smooth and incident free. On this score, CERT would like to commend CHASS, staff of all the schools and parents for their collaborative efforts towards the roll out of this policy.”
Although CERT blamed successive governments for not expanding infrastructure in SHSs across the country, it said it is “thrilled by the bold moves by the government to use the expected GETFund levies to secure over GHc 500 million to address the multiple infrastructure challenges in the Senior High Schools within the shortest possible time”.
The statement also welcomed moves by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to partner the Ghana Health Service in screening students under the system.
“CERT applauds the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the Ghana Education Service and Ghana Health Service that aims at improving the health needs of students while in School. We commend efforts by the Ghana Health Service to spearhead the screening of first year students and the provision of health services to all schools by its personnel on agreed terms.”
Meanwhile, CERT is calling on the ministry of education to as a matter of urgency review the list of schools implementing the double track system because it believes some schools did not receive the projected number of students hence, should be made to run a single-track system.
“CERT calls on the ministry of Education to quickly review the number of schools on the double track. CERT has observed that many of the nearly 400 schools originally placed on the double track did not receive the required numbers to warrant their continuous placement on the double track. Moreover, we have observed that over 100 schools on the track have the capacity and infrastructure to run a single/regular track. We urge the ministry of education to send their monitors around to identify such schools and place them on a single track.”
The education think tank, further encouraged all stakeholders to continue to support government in its quest to ensure that every Ghanaian child enjoys free Education at least up to the secondary level.