An eminent educationist is advocating the adoption of a multi-track educational system in the country to enable the Ghana Education Service (GES) to absorb the huge numbers of the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) candidates who sit for the examination annually.
Under the multi-track system, while one track of students are in school, another track of students will be on holidays and when those in school are going for holidays, those on holidays will also be leaving for school.
Professor Jophus Anamuah-Mensah, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Education Winneba, who made the proposal in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, said under the multi-track system, the current trimester system would have to be changed to a semester system to conform to the tertiary education system.
The enrolment trend of the BECE candidates into the senior high and technical and vocational institutions show that significant number of candidates have always been placed yet are not enrolled.
In 2014 for instance, 113,260, representing 29.3 per cent out of the 386,412 candidates who were placed, could not be enrolled, while a total number of 115,363 out of the 415,012 BECE candidates, representing 27.8 per cent in 2015, were placed but could not be enrolled.
Similarly, in 2016, out of the 420,135 candidates that were placed, 111,336 of them, representing 26.5 per cent, could not enrol while 62,453 candidates, representing 14.7 per cent out of 424,224 who were placed, could not be enrolled.
The projection for 2018 shows that out of the 521,710 candidates who registered for the BECE, the number of candidates anticipated to be placed is 497,610, out of which a projected 24,880 candidates will not be enrolled.
Professor Anamuah-Mensah, who is also an education consultant in Winneba, questioned what the country expected such children, who were placed but could not be enrolled, to do.
He said from the trend of the candidates sitting for the BECE, it was clear that the numbers would continue to increase so there was the need to find a solution of providing more infrastructure for the SHSs.
He acknowledged that putting up more classrooms and laboratories was capital intensive and would, therefore, take not less than three to five years and in some cases even more to complete.
He added that while waiting for a permanent solution to the infrastructural challenge, there was the need to look out for options even if they were stop-gap measures and one of such measures was the multi-track educational system.
Prof. Anamuah-Mensah explained that China and some South American countries were using such a system to address the challenges in their educational sectors with regard to congestion and high numbers in classrooms and lack of infrastructure.
Benefits of multi-track
He enumerated the benefits of such a system to include the fact that “it provides significant blocks of instructional time for students, allows teachers to assess students during the first block of classes and uses the vacation to determine a plan for individual students. It also provides space for continuous professional development of teachers.
In addition, he said the multi-track system would provide multiple vacation options for both students and teachers, increase the supply of school places while limiting the strain on budget in addition to allowing a single set of buildings and facilities to serve more students and helping the government to achieve the goals of social equity.
“It will maximise the use of available resources and provide education for a greater number of pupils without multiplying investment. It will also ensure more efficient use of buildings and other facilities,” Prof. Anamuah-Mensah indicated.
Talking about the Ghanaian situation, he explained that such a system would not only address the congestion associated with the huge numbers of candidates sitting for the BECE each year but would also cater for the infrastructural challenges confronting senior high schools in the country.