The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, has chided critics of the double track system Free SHS system, insisting that the policy will not affect the quality of teaching and learning in Senior High Schools.
The Minister alluded to the rotational sessions in some Churches and indicated that it has not affected the quality of worshiping God over the years.
According to him, Churches who go for first, second and third services are in effect practicing the double track system since the facilities at those Churches cannot accommodate the huge number of congregants. Critics feel this system has not be thought through enough and is a knee-jerk reaction to the infrastructure challenges facing the Free SHS.
Some like a former Director of the Ghana Education Service, Charles Aheto Tsegah, says it may also promote truancy.
Mr. Osei Mensah, speaking in an interview after addressing the Muslim Community at the Kumasi Central mosque as part of the Edul-Adha celebrations, maintained that the system will not affect the quality of education.
“We have some of the Christian churches and because the church cannot take the number of people in the church, they have first service, second service third service, fourth service. Do they receive lower quality preaching or teaching?”
“If you are a Christian and you are talking against the second service, then why do you go to the second service? Why do you go there at all. It is not going to reduce the quality. It is going to solve a problem for almost everybody who qualifies to go to senior high school to go to Senior High School free of charge.”
400 out of the 696 public SHSs have been selected to operate the system.
The new programme creates a calendar of two semesters in a year for the SHS 1 class, containing 81 days per each semester and 41 days of vacation for a sandwich class.
Over 8,000 teachers are being recruited to handle the sandwich classes, so teachers are not deprived of their holidays.
Under the new system, teaching hours are increased from six hours per day to eight hours per day.
Teaching hours are expected to increase from 1,080 hours per year under the current single-track system, to 1,134 hours per year under the proposed double-track system.
The new system is expected to cost GH?323 million to implement fully.
Without the double-track system, the government will require GH?1.3 billion to accommodate the increase in numbers.