Immediate past General Secretary of the Christian Council, Revered Opuni Frimpong has cautioned government to be mindful of the kind of legacy it will be leaving with their handling of the country’s educational sector particular implementation of Free SHS.
His comments come on the back of government’s decision to introduce a system that according to them will accommodate the huge numbers of students moving to the Senior High level from the Junior High School.
The Akufo-Addo government introduced the Free SHS system in 2017 but it has been fraught with various challenges especially issues regarding space to accommodate the about 90, 000 students who benefitted.
The numbers this year are expected to double up to about 180, 000, a situation government says requires an innovative thinking to ensure no Ghanaian child is left behind.
This decision according to Rev Opuni Frimpong should not be motivated by the electoral gains that the government hopes to benefit from in 2020 but should be properly thought through since that is what the Akufo-Addo government will be remembered for.
The Former General Secretary of Christian Council dared the government to implement a system they will honestly want their relatives to go through as students.
“We put people there to lead. Leaders must lead, our leaders must give us leadership. But the kind of leadership they give to us they must know it should one that has to do with legacy, they must be legacy-minded. It should not be that 90, 000 we do not want them to stay at home, 2020 is coming. We have done XYZ so push all of them through” he remarked during an interview with '21minutes with KKB'.
“If you ask me are we doing it right, I will say they themselves those rolling the programme must be legacy-minded. The kind of Ghanaian children they want to build, something they will be proud of, something they themselves will want to push their grandchildren and children into but it should not be a pushover” the KNUST lecturer added.
He advised that in the implementation of the double track system, government should not lose sight of the quality component stressing that it should make Ghanaian students competent to compete with their colleagues from other countries not only on the continent but across the world.
“The double-track system must be attention to quality assurance. That Ghanaian children who come out from our schools can compete with their colleagues in South Africa, Kenya, anywhere. If all we are going to get from the double track system is a campaign promise fulfilled, then we are in trouble and the government must listen. They must not listen to only people they want to hear, they must listen to those whose faces they don’t like” Rev Opuni Frimpong intimated.
Double track system
Ghanaguardian.com reports that 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 be 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 policy has drawn criticisms from several quarters including the opposition NDC and some teacher unions who have referred to the system as an introduction to the shift system and expressed scepticism about the impact it will have on quality education.
This has generated a response from the President who on several occasions has insisted the Free SHS has come to stay and the double track system is a short-term measure while the issues of infrastructure deficit in the public second cycle schools are addressed.
Speaking at the annual Ada Asafotufiami festival over the weekend, he disclosed that “this double-track calendar system will not be applied to all senior schools but only those whose current capacity will be exceeded by the numbers of the admitted students.”
“This system will not destroy our education system, as the professional naysayers would want you to believe but on the contrary, this will reduce class sizes, increase contact hours between teachers and students and hike the number of holidays,” he emphasised.
Education Minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh is expected to address the media on Tuesday, 7th August 2018 to clarify misconceptions about the new system and provide a roadmap for the implementation of the programme ahead of the new academic year which is due to commence in September.”