Participants in a Dialogue on Education Policy in Ghana have reiterated the need for a broader stakeholder consultation on the double-track system before its implementation.
They contended that there was the need for the government to actively involve relevant stakeholders in decision making to get their views and opinions on how to make the free Senior High School (SHS) policy a success rather than imposing the system on them.
At a Daily Graphic Dialogue on Education Policy in Cape Coast yesterday, the participants urged the government to effectively consult stakeholders to ensure the success of the system.
The dialogue, on the theme: “Unpacking the double-track system: Implications for sustainable financing and prospects for educational quality in Ghana”, was sponsored by STAR Ghana, the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with Ahomka FM, ATL FM and Coastal TV as media partners.
It was attended by representatives of civil society organisations, stakeholders in education and media organisations.
The Central Regional Chairman of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr Augustine Kofi Pennin, emphasised that the Ministry of Education (MoE) had not respected the views of teachers in rolling out the double-track system.
As major stakeholders in the educational sector, he said teachers had first-hand information on how access to quality education in the country could be improved, therefore, the need to respect their views.
“Though the decision to carry on with the system has already been taken, there is the need for the government to dialogue effectively with teachers,” he said.
Mr Pennin further called on the government to pay existing arrears due teachers to motivate them to offer their best, saying “How can teachers be motivated if you promise an increase in motivation allowance but the existing arrears haven’t been paid.”
A member of the Conference of Heads of Private Secondary Schools (CHOPSS), Mr Frederick Asare, underscored the need for the government to work with the private educational sector as a means to solve the problem of limited access to secondary education.
He said if the government could work with the private sector in agriculture and industrialisation under the Planting for Food and Jobs and the One-district, One-factory (1D1F) policy, then they should be able to work with the private sector under the free SHS policy.
“If the government says it is a private-sector-led government, then let it work with us to make the educational sector work well,” he added.
The President of the Central Regional Association of the Disabled, Mr John Frimpong, said there was the need to make second cycle schools all-inclusive and more disability friendly.
He said schools should be provided with the necessary equipment, infrastructure and staff that would allow students who are challenged to fit into the schools rather than sending them to segregated schools.
“In our quest to provide education for all, let us put into consideration students with who challenged and how they can be assisted to gain secondary education,” he said.
The Principal of the Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind (CAPEDEAF), Mr Setumte Ametewee, said disabled pupils must be admitted into second cycle institutions.
He said if the schools became all-inclusive; it would encourage the challenged pupils to continue with education to the highest level instead of dropping off at the basic level.