Spio-Garbrah calls for a discussion on Free SHS double-track system
Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah a Presidential Aspirant of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Tuesday called for a national dialogue on Free Senior High School double-track system involving experts to make contributions to enable it to work better.
While acknowledging, that the system was good, he noted that government ought to have had an adequate planning and consultation with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure the implementation of a successful programme.
Mr Spio-Garbrah suggested to the government to invite private sector stakeholders to constructively criticize the policy, offer effective and efficient implementation strategies of the policy and plan to manage the over half a million students that would be expected next year by the new policy.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Spio-Garbrah, who was once a Minister of Education said the policy required a re-definition of what kind services must be free and those that ought to be paid by parents.
Using the United State of America as an example, he said although certain things including use of furniture, classroom, tuition, teaching and learning materials were free, boarding and feeding bursary were not free.
“There are many parents who are willing to pay for their children education so they should be allowed to foot the bills. The government must not feel obliged to give them free food. That is not right because it has brought congestion and will affect the quality of teaching and learning.
“It has brought stress to teachers. Imagine a teacher is teaching as many as 70 students and will have to mark 70 exercise and examination scripts. The other problematic side of the system is that, teachers will not have enough time to interact with students especially those with special needs,” he said.
Mr Spio-Garbrah stated the argument by the government to increase the contact hours for the students would affect the extra curriculum activities that helped to wholly mould the children.
“There are activities including sports, debating societies, current affairs groups that helped them to unearth their talents and give them a complete education. Per the claim by authorities all of these activities would be curtailed,” he added.
Touching on the six-month period where the other track would wait at home, he said it would escalate social vices among children including teenage pregnancy and drug abuse.