President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Wednesday justified the government’s decision to adopt a double intake system to increase access to high school education and address the problem of inadequate infrastructure.
He said the adoption of the double intake system would provide the government with the capacity to deal with the large number of students who would turn out from junior high schools to senior high schools (SHSs).
Addressing a durbar of the chiefs and the people of Wa Wednesday as part of his two-day visit to the Upper West Region, which also rounded off his seven-day tour of the three regions of the north, President Akufo-Addo said because of the large number of students likely to be admitted to SHS, there was high propensity for the schools to have large class sizes.
With the introduction of the double intake system, he said, the size of classes would be reduced, a situation which was key to ensuring quality
He, therefore, appealed to the chiefs and the people of the Upper West Region and the rest of the country to support the system and take advantage of it to send their children to school.
President Akufo-Addo said the quality and success of the double intake system would partly be determined by the quality of the products who would benefit from the system.
From September this year, the government will implement the double intake system for new entrants to public SHSs.
The system is a measure to address the growing number of students benefitting from the free SHS policy.
Despite providing 96,403 mono desks, 33,171 pieces of dining hall furniture, 3,033 tables and chairs for teachers, 12,953 bunk beds, 4,335 student mattresses and 5,135 computer laboratory chairs by the government to address the infrastructural deficit over the year, it has not been enough to address all issues of infrastructure in SHSs.
The 2018/19 academic year is expected to witness a 31 per cent increase in the population of new students, with about 472,000 entering SHSs, and which has resulted in a deficit of some 183,000.
The new system is expected to cost GH¢323 million to fully implement.
The cost comprises GH¢267.2 million as teaching cost and GH¢55.8 million for academic interventions.
There have been mixed reactions to the proposed double intake system. While some individuals and groups have expressed support for it, others are very apprehensive of the initiative, saying it will affect the quality of education.
A national service person, Ms Adiza Mohammed, said the double intake of students in SHS was a laudable initiative because it would increase enrolment in the schools.
An entrepreneur, Ms Alexina Asmah, was of the view that the double intake would not be appropriate.
He said the government should rather stick to the normal intake and focus on building more schools.
A teacher, Ms Cornelia Amoah, said there would be pressure on teachers because they would have to work extra hard to ensure that the syllabus was completed before the close of the academic year Activities
As part of his tour of the Upper West Region, President Akufo- Addo paid a courtesy call on the Wa Naa, Fuseini Seidu Pelpuo IV, and inaugurated the newly constructed Amatrol Laboratory of the Hilla Limann Polytechnic.
He also addressed durbars of the chiefs and the people of the Jirapa, Sissala East, Sissala West, Nadowli/Kaleo, Daffiama-Bussie-Issah and Wa East districts.
The President also inspected ongoing works on the construction of a multi-purpose youth centre in Wa which is expected to be completed in nine months’ time and also inaugurated the new building of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs.
He also inspected the 76-kilometre Wa-Han road which links 13 important towns, with three big markets at Jang, Bussie and Han.
The road serves as a major arterial for the Nadowli/Kaleo and the Daffiama-Bussie-Issah districts and the Jirapa municipality.
President Akufo-Addo also paid a courtesy call on the Paramount Chief of the Ullo Traditional Area, Naa Alhaji Baburonon Amadu Seidu II, who congratulated the President on the implementation of initiatives such as the free SHS policy and Planting for Food and Jobs and the restoration of nursing and teacher training allowances.
Naa Alhaji Seidu also commended the President for elevating Jirapa from the status of a district to a municipality, a development which, he said, would improve the standard of living of the people.