The Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has justified the double-track system that government introduced in 2018 in senior high schools, saying that it was necessary to give voice to the President’s vision of free senior high school education.
He dismissed claims that the double-track system was affecting the quality of learning outcomes, stating that aside the more contact hours the system offered the students, the government, for the first time, was paying teacher motivation allowance such that the teachers could render additional tuition for the students.
Dr Prempeh asked what would have happened to the excess number of qualified students had the government not introduced the programme, and that it would be wrong to describe the entire system as a challenge.
Addressing this year’s National Education Week (NEW) currently taking place at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra on the theme: “Reforming the Education Sector for Effective Service Delivery: Assessing Progress,” he revealed that the Free SHS shot enrolment up from 800,000 in the 2016/17 academic year to 1.2 million in the 2019/20 academic year.
Dr Prempeh explained that it became important at that time to innovate in order for every child to gain access to senior high school education and stressed on the government’s desire that no child should be left behind, asking rhetorically, “whose child should stay at home?”
The two-day event, which ends tomorrow, includes plenary and panel discussions on progress and challenges in the specified reform areas and identify the next steps, with recommendations on the way forward.
Impact of COVID-19
Speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on education, the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the ministry, Mr Kwasi Obeng Fosu, said the pandemic, which resulted in the closure of schools, had affected majority of children in the world.
He said there was currently much thinking, collaboration, innovation, experimentation and research taking place in Ghana and across the globe to find out the best ways teaching and learning could still happen in the context of COVID-19.
“These combined present 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,” Mr Fosu stated.