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We need seamless return to single-track system

BY: Daily Graphic
free SHS policy
free SHS policy

Much as the double-track system introduced by the government last year under the free SHS policy has made it possible for more qualified students to gain admission to SHS, many reservations have been expressed by parents.

Some of the worries have bordered on the long stay at home of some students while others are in school, which may open the students up to mischief.

Some parents are also not too happy that infrastructure has not been improved to cater for all students at a go, while others have argued that the system will compromise quality teaching and learning and also put a burden on the few teaching and non-teaching staff in the schools.

The government maintained, during the introduction of the double-track system, that it was a measure to address overcrowding in schools and a temporary arrangement to ensure that no qualified child was left out of SHS education.

True to its word, we may soon see the end of the system with the disbursement of about GH¢2.45 billion from the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) for the completion of about 766 abandoned and new structures in SHSs across the country.

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It is refreshing to hear that as a result of construction works which have begun in earnest, the current first-year free SHS students will enjoy single track when the 2019/2020 academic year commences in September, by which time they will be in second year.

According to a Deputy Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, in September only fresh students would be doing the double track, presumably because the structures are still being put up.

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The Daily Graphic lauds the government for keeping its word and also being proactive in solving the challenges at the second-cycle level.

We, however, urge that the process be followed to the end by ensuring that contractors given the job of completing abandoned structures and beginning new ones are paid in full, so that the jobs are not truncated again.

The GH¢2.45 billion is only a third of the $1.5 million being raised by the government and we only hope that the total amount will be realised to ensure that we see a seamless return to the single track system that operated before.

Getting the total amount, using 40 per cent of inflows into the GETFund as security, will also ensure that not only second -cycle schools but also tertiary institutions benefit from the building of more infrastructure to cater for the anticipated increase in enrolment due to the free SHS policy.

Indeed, the contractors must not have any excuse not to deliver with the funds provided, but proper supervision should be ensured, so that we get value for money and get the infrastructure required.

The Daily Graphic believes that if this first step towards the move from the double-track system is done well, it will only be a matter of time for the complete return to single track to be realised.