Education Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh has explained that ex-President John Mahama’s claim that under the Double Track system of the Senior High School (SHS), students are spending a total of 81 days in school out of the 365 days in a year, shows that he is misinformed about the running of the system.
The Ghana Education Service (GES) has also described Mr. Mahama’s claim as “inaccurate,” urging him and other stakeholders to “adequately inform and educate themselves before making public comments on the free Senior High School and the Double Track System.”
Mr. Prempeh popularly known as ‘Napo’ said this in a statement issued on Tuesday, January 8, 2019, to parry the former President’s claims.
Ex-President Mahama had in an address at Bodi in the Western Region accused the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) Government and President Akufo-Addo of forcing to do everything at once as regards the implementation of the Free SHS policy.
He held that “the Free SHS policy is enshrined in the constitution but it says we will introduce it progressively,” describing President Akufo-Addo as ‘Jack Toronto’ who is trying to do everything at once.
Mr. Mahama who is seeking to lead the National Democratic Congress (NDC) into the 2020 presidential elections bemoaned that “you ask the kids to go to school for 41 days and return home and go for a second semester for another 41 days. So therefore, out of 365 days in a year, our children are attending school for only 81 days and then go ahead to write exams.”
But the Education Minister, in his statement, rubbished the claims, saying emphatically that “it is obvious from the above that the former President has been misinformed about this issue.”
According to the statement, “under the semester system introduced at the start of the 2018/19 academic year, students are to spend a total of 162 teaching days a year in school (i.e. 81 teaching days per semester, approximately 8 calendar months) and not 82 teaching days per academic year as the former president claimed.”
It said “the 162 teaching days are the number of days students will actually be in class during the year. This excludes weekends and public holidays.”
The statement observed that the 162 teaching days translate to 225 calendar days in school for boarders,
It added that “it must be noted that under the semester system, the teaching day has been extended by one hour. This means that the total number of teaching hours per academic year has increased from 1080 hours to 1134 per year. Students therefore gain more contact hours under the semester system, which has replaced the trimester system.”
Head of Public Relations at GES, Cassandra Twum Ampofo, in a statement observed that “students of the Double Track (Green and Gold) are expected to run three academic years like any other second cycle student before writing their final examinations.”
Double Track Here To Stay
Napo repeated that the double track system shall be sustained, declaring in a fearless manner that “we will continue to pursue the double track system as a measure of improving access to, and enhancing quality senior high school education.”
“We believe this is key to improving learning outcomes and ultimately putting the country on the path to economic sustainability.”