Former Deputy Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Prof John Bright Aheto, has chastised government for “rushing” the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy without proper consultation.
According to him, the policy was “unnecessarily rushed” thus, the numerous challenges facing its implementation.
Government has introduced the two-track system to cater for the spike in enrolment into Senior High Schools (SHSs) due to the free SHS policy.
The full implementation of the new system is expected to cost GHS323million. The objective of the double-track system is to create room to accommodate all the students, reduce class size, increase contact hours and increase the number of holidays.
The system is similar to the academic calendar used in the universities. With this system, each track will be in school for specific days for each semester and go on vacation and come back for the second semester. While the first track is in school, the second track will be on vacation and vice-versa.
Reacting to the challenges facing the Free SHS policy on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Thursday, 26 July 2018, Prof Aheto said although he is not against Free SHS, the policy was not well thought through.
He told show host Moro Awudu that: “If I were to play for you the report of CHASS (Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools) at Ho, the June before we started Free SHS when we engaged the Deputy Minister in charge of secondary education, my idea was why are we rushing? Why are we in a rush? It’s the president’s promise to the nation, did he say he was going to do it in the first year or the second year? Can’t he engage the people in the first year and say these are the issues involved, if nothing at least four years earlier, he had promised it, so he got four years to have thought about it and as of today, we should not be failing to implement it for the people.
“I said that in public at CHASS meeting. So yes, I think we have rushed this thing unnecessarily. Instead of taking time to look at the issues, as it is right now, we have not even studied the first year of Free SHS to know the problem there is. There are some schools right now that over 30 percent of their students will have to repeat the first year. I don’t know if we have taken that into account before we are adding on. So, yes, we have rushed it but nobody is against Free SHS.”