Semester system needs consultations

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

For a fact, the development of a country is fast-tracked when citizens are independent, confident and have high self-esteem, all of which are provided through education.

The world over, it is people with knowledge in fields such as IT, agriculture and the economy who have brought about reforms to revolutionise their communities to enjoy better living standards.

It is partly for this that Article 25 1(b) of the 1992 Constitution says that secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means.

To ensure the rapid development of the country, and by extension meet the constitutional requirement, the current government, on assumption of office, took the bold and important decision, unprecedented in the history of the country, to introduce free senior high school (SHS) education.

The policy, which was started in the 2017/2018 academic year, has seen huge numbers of students seeking admission to SHSs, stretching resources and facilities to their elastic limits.

In the wake of this development, the double-track system has been proposed and it, certainly, is the way to go for now.

On Tuesday, the Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, at a press briefing, announced that as part of the effort to ensure accessibility for qualified candidates, the Ministry of Education would adopt the semester system for SHSs from the next academic year, as against the three-term academic calendar the country has been used to over the years.

Ghana News Headlines

For latest news in Ghana, visit Graphic Online news headlines page Ghana news page

As is often the case with the introduction of any new policy, the Daily Graphic expects the expression of divergent views from the citizenry. For us, our concern is that many a time debates on important policies are so politicised and sectionalised that we tend to lose out on the benefits.

As we highly commend the government for focusing on the free SHS education for our teeming future generation, we are worried about signals received across the country that suggest that discussions and consultations on the double-track system announced earlier have not been exhaustive enough.

An important stakeholder in education such as the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has complained about the government’s failure to consult with the association. It has thus said it does not support the double-track system.

Similar concerns have been raised by seasoned educationists, some members of the clergy and civil society organisations.

Now that the government plans to adopt the semester system in the next academic year, we implore it to broaden consultations on the plan, so that together we can all fashion the best way possible for our educational sector to get the best for the children, who are the future of the country.