The Western Regional Minister, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie has opined without fear that some Ghanaians who are kicking against the Double Track System should withdraw their wards from school.
The implementation of the double track system in some 400 Senior High Schools in Ghana begins today, Tuesday, September 11, 2018.
The new system, which was created due to an increase in enrollment is expected to create space to accommodate more students, reduce class size, increase contact hours and increase the number of holidays.
The government adopted the double-track system to cater for increased enrollment under its flagship free Senior High School programme, due to a deficit in infrastructure.
Some Ghanaians especially the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has been kicking against it as a bad move to deal with the congestion in the secondary schools in the country.
Recently, the NDC's National Communications Officer, Solomon Nkansah told the media that if voted into power in 2020, the system would be canceled.
He said the policy will not grant every Ghanaian student access to secondary education, a situation he says his party will change in the second year of being in power.
“NDC will cancel the double track system in our second year because this system which we see as shift system will only destroy the children’s education where not all students will get the chance of going to school,” he said on Neat FM monitored by Adomonline.com.
But speaking on Sunday, September 9, 2018 during the climax of the Kundum festival by the Chiefs and people of the Axim Traditional Area, which was attended by President Akufo-Addo, the regional minister urged those who are speaking against the Double Track System to withdraw their wards from school and wait after three years.
He said the only way the government can enroll more students into the second cycle education is to implement the Double Track System.
"If you don't like the Double Track System then let your ward stay home without attending school and let your ward wait after three years and if government has solved the problem then you can send your children to school and I don't see the reason why your ward should be at home so send your ward to school", he stated.
He used the occasion to express the appreciation of the people of Western Region to President Akufo-Addo for the introduction and implementation of the Free Senior High School Flagship Program.
He said, government would continue to stick to the Free SHS despite criticisms from certain quarters, adding that those who were not in favour of the policy must back out and withdraw their wards from school.
"Mr. President we the people of the Region support the Free SHS policy because we can't pay so I have opened a book at the Regional Coordinating Council for those who think can pay their wards fee to come and write his or her name and I will come to their houses and thank them and Mr. President I have also told my MMDCEs to do same", he emphasized.
On the Planting for Food and Jobs Flagship Program, the Western Regional Minister said, food crops like plantain was in abundance in Asankragua in the Amenfi west constituency due to the program thereby boosting the local economy and therefore appealed to President Akufo-Addo led administration to include plantain and beans to the meal the secondary schools eat so that it would not rot.
He appealed to the gathering to rally behind President Akufo-Addo and pray for him to live long and fulfill his promises.
The MP for the area, Hon. Catherine Afeku also added that, roads in the Municipality would be fixed. She asked the people to take advantage of government's flagship policies such as planting for food and jobs, free SHS, cocoa pollination among others.
Madam Afeku asked the people to disregard vile propaganda in the area and rally behind the government for development.
The Omanhene of Lower Axim traditional Area, Awulae Attibrukusu thanked the President for appointing Madam Catherine Afeku as a cabinet Minister.
He noted that the free SHS has increased the enrollment in schools and urged all to take advantage of the policy.
He appealed to the President to construct a fishing harbour for the area.
Details of the double track system
Some 400 out of the 696 public senior high schools have been selected to operate the system. The schools would accommodate the over 180,000 students.
Government is to recruit about 8,872 additional tutors for the double track programme, in over 400 selected senior high schools in Ghana.
According to the Director-General of Ghana Education Service (GES), Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, the recruitment process has already commenced.
Speaking at a press conference, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa said no teacher would be allowed to be on more than one track.
“800 people were trained to draw up a timetable. They have done that, and out of that, we have been able to identify the number of teachers that we need to supplement the existing number of teachers. It is 8,872, and if you take this, it will tell you the number of teachers that they need, and the subjects that the teachers should be recruited into,” he added.
“Under the double track, we realized that if we don’t plan properly, teachers may be teaching all-year round and they may not have time for themselves. They may break down, and we will have many casualties. We’ve planned it in such a way that if you are a teacher in a given track when the schools are on vacation, then you will also be on vacation.”