The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has stated that the double track system that was introduced in 2018 in senior high schools was an innovative means of ensuring that all qualified Ghanaian students benefit from the Free Senior High School policy.
He noted that with the introduction of Free SHS, which saw the senior high school population jump from 800,000 in the 2016/17 academic year to 1.2 million in the 2019/20 academic year, it became important to innovate to enable every child to gain access to senior high school education.
Dr Prempeh said this when he addressed this year’s National Education Week (NEW), held at the Accra International Conference Centre on Tuesday.
The programme was held under the theme “Reforming the Education Sector for Effective Service Delivery: Assessing Progress”.
The two-day event had a plenary and panel discussions to discuss progress and challenges in specified reform areas and identify the next steps, with recommendations on the way forward.
According to the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Education, Kwasi Obeng Fosu, with COVID-19 and school closures affecting the majority of children in the world, there is currently a huge amount of thinking, collaboration, innovation, experimentation and research going on in Ghana and across all countries to enable education, teaching and learning continue unimpeded in the context of COVID-19.
“This combined, presents a critical opportunity to have new conversations about education reform and delivery, assessing progress so far, and what needs to be changed in order to plan for the future, and that is the opportunity that NEW offers stakeholders,” the PRO noted.
The double-track was a policy of Government to ensure that “no qualified child be left behind” in the Free SHS programme. According to the Education Ministry’s 2018 projections, there was the need to create 181,993 extra spaces to accommodate the high number of students projected to enrol in senior high schools in the 2018/19 academic year.
As part of the policy, senior high school students were made to benefit from additional academic intervention to ensure improvement in learning outcomes. Schools also received funding allocation to establish instructional interventions in school.
As part of the project, Government continues to build and expand infrastructure in schools. Government also absorbed 15 private senior high schools and one private technical and vocational school into the public sector.
Furthermore, Government has operationalised some of the E-Block structures it has completed, while cconstruction of additional infrastructure across the country is ongoing.