President Akufo-Addo has reaffirmed his decision on the introduction of the double-track SHS system which will accommodate the increase in enrolment in the Senior High School.
Speaking at the 70th-anniversary celebration of the Ghana National College, on Saturday, 28th July 2018, the President indicated that it will further reduce the class sizes of students and also increase contact hours between teachers and students.
“The objectives of the double track system are to create room to accommodate the increase in enrolment. Furthermore, it will reduce class sizes, it will increase the contact hours between teachers and students, and increase the number of holidays. All this, ladies and gentlemen, is going to be achieved with the existing infrastructure” he said.
President Akufo-Addo assured that the double track system of Free SHS will, however, increase in quality of the senior high school and asked all and sundry to embrace the system and work very hard to make sure that it succeeds.
“I am confident that the end result of the system would lead to an increase in the quality of our SHS structure. I am inviting everybody – parents, teachers, administrators, students, the Parent Teacher Associations, the Regional and District Directors of Education – to embrace this system, and work to make sure that it succeeds,” he reiterated
The President stated that the double-track system has become necessary because in the 2018/2019 academic year, the Free SHS will admit about four hundred and seventy-two thousand new students and it will be absorbed by the double-track system.
“In the 2018/2019 academic year, which begins in September, four hundred and seventy-two thousand new students, i.e. an increase of some 31%, will be admitted into our Senior High Schools. We had to, and have found a way, therefore, to absorb this intake. We refer to it as the Double-Intake System.”
Far from the double-track system being a new intervention that is being experimented in Ghana, the President stated that it has been implemented elsewhere, and found to be successful in countries as diverse as the United States of America, Australia, Kenya and Japan.
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.