The newly-introduced double track system took off yesterday as a stop-gap measure to absorb the increasing numbers enjoying the free Senior High School programme instituted by government in 2017.
Thankfully, a key stakeholder in the education sector – the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) – says it is ready for the take-off, and we are not expecting any unforeseen hitches. However, GNAT’s only caveat is that government should speed up its recruitment of teachers to augment the present number, which is deemed inadequate.
Government pledged to add 8,000 more teachers to beef-up the number of teachers for the term, and GNAT is asking it to make good its word. The policy will see newly-admitted students into public SHSs divided into two tracks, which government argues will lead to smaller class sizes for better attention in tutorials.
General Secretary of GNAT, David Ofori-Acheampong, is emphatic that without augmenting the present stock of teachers it will be virtually impossible for the current number to handle the two-track system, and it is therefore important for the number of teachers to be beefed-up.
While the current school capacity nationwide amounts to around 290,737 students, the 2018/19 academic year intake for Senior High Schools (SHS) rises from 362,118 students to 472,000 – one can therefore anticipate the infrastructure deficit that free SHS policy occasions.
Hence, adoption of the two-track system as a stop-gap measure will accommodate the swelling numbers until the expected GH¢50million loan is secured to complete construction of GETFund-sponsored school facilities.
Let’s face it, this will take not less than five years to complete and the most innovative measure available is the double-track system, so that the education of students is not unduly affected. The Director-General of Ghana Education Service (GES), Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, says GES has commenced the process of recruiting a total 8,872 more teachers to augment the existing number for a smooth take-off – and that is encouraging.
The die is cast and parents have no other option but to ensure they adjust to the new timetable and make do with what is available for now. At the end of the day students cannot afford to forfeit their education, but rather have to go by what is made available to ensure the policy is not derailed.