Former Deputy Minister of Education Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has added his voice to critics on government’s new educational policy insisting that the double-track system is not the way forward.
‘’Having consulted from the former Education minister and other education ministers such as Dr Christine Amoako Nuamah, they are saying that the double-track is not the way forward … let us say no to double-track system.’’
Recently the government announced its plans to introduce a double-track semester system into the SHS system.
This policy divides the entire student body and staff into two different tracks. So while one track is in school, the other is on vacation.
And every semester will be 80 days for the two tracks. For one semester, every track will be in school for 40 days then go for a break for 40 days.
This system has been developed to deal with the huge numbers accompanied with the free SHS policy.
Government argues that, there isn’t enough time to build enough facilities to accommodate the numbers hence the introduction of the double-track system.
Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa added that with the double-track system there is the need to have a clear report so as to enable Ghanaians understand its process.
With many applauding the implementation by government, Mr Ablakwa hinted that Free SHS across all levels is crucial and important for every political party to embrace it because it has been stated in the constitution and anyone against Free SHS is against the constitution of Ghana.
“Any political party that says that they are opposed to free education is in the same breath opposed to the constitution of Ghana.”
According to the Former Education Minister, past presidents should not be blamed for focusing on FQ as they were laying the grounds for Free SHS take off.
“I do not blame Former President Rawlings, Kufuor, Mills, Mahama for focusing on FQ the foundation, the formative years of our people and preparing the grounds for when we can take off to achieve free secondary education and free tertiary education. You cannot indict our former president and our former leaders for proceeding with caution when it comes to how free we want to implement secondary education and tertiary education.
Speaking at the IPPR forum on Free SHS on the theme: ‘Towards a sustainable Free SHS programme – The best way forward,’ Mr Ablakwa noted that the Community Day schools that have been abandoned to rot must be put to use and those left unfinished must be completed.
“It is possible, if we complete the community day schools… we are also concerned that there are a number of this Community Day school that have been completed but are not being used.”
Meanwhile, suggestions made by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta that parents who have the means should be made to pay their children’s school fees which angered many of his colleagues in government.
In response, the Deputy Education Minister Dr Yaw Adutwum stated that the Finance Minister’s comments do not reflect the views of the cabinet.
However, the former Education Minister, appealed to government to consider an emergency intervention in tackling the Free SHS/double-track system.
“It’s a self-created crisis, self-created emergency but we are there already, what do we do? I believe that if we bring in the military, the Ghana Armed Forces, the engineers regime and we do the inventory of this Community Day schools abandoned and we put together an emergency intervention and we find the funding and this GETFund money which have vanished into the consolidated fund, we can recall those funds and invest those funds to complete this Community Day school and we can avoid the double-track system,” he said.