13 Mahama E-block Schools Go For Double-Track

Deputy Minister for Education in charge of General Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum

Deputy Minister for Education in charge of General Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum has disclosed that thirteen community day senior high school (SHS), popularly known as the E-block schools have been completed and are ready to come on stream at the beginning of the next academic year in September.

The E-block schools which were started by the Mahama administration will help in government’s new intervention of bringing on board the double-track system into the Senior High establishment.

According  to Deputy Minister of Education in charge of General Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, who was speaking at a Daily Graphic dialogue, on the theme: “Unpacking the double-track system: Implications for sustainable financing and prospects for educational quality in Ghana”, which was sponsored by Star Ghana, the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD),the development was against the perception that the community day SHSs started by the previous administration had been abandoned.

He said Forty-six (46) out of the 200 planned community day SHSs started by the John Mahama National Democratic Congress (NDC) government were completed before handing over power to the New Patriot Party (NPP) administration in January 2017, whilst some 123 of the schools were under construction.

The Deputy Minister averred that the double-track system was being introduced to deal with congestion in schools as a temporary measure until the infrastructure situation was addressed.

He said: “That is an opportunity to grant access to so many students who would have been at home”.

He also added that “It is also to provide the opportunities for students who would never have made it to some of the top schools. It gives more contact hours, compared to the existing system.”

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum said the double-track system would bring an end to the cut-off point system that prevented some qualified students from furthering their education at the secondary level, whilst announcing  that the government was working on a $1.5-billion facility to complete all abandoned building projects in basic schools, SHSs and tertiary campuses in the country.

Dr. Yaw Osei Aduwtwum also indicated that GETFund would be funded with $1.5 billion to expand its projected plans that aim at solving infrastructural deficit to both the Senior High School and tertiary Institutions.

“Getfund is taking some of the revenue that they projected that they would be receiving from ten year plans for now and they are borrowing against it. Five hundred million would go into Senior High School contribution and all buildings at 70 percent completion level will be completed” he said.
He added that in order to expand space in the tertiary institutions, additional $500million would be allocated to the tertiary institutions to ensure that abandoned projects are completed.
“It will take 500 million to help universities complete all abandoned structures that GETFund had begun so that we can expand space in our universities and other tertiary institutions” he added
He said as the infrastructure situation improved, more schools would be taken out of the double-track system.

Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum also enumerated the fact that the free SHS policy had shot up interest in the resit of the examination at the BECE level and said that 11,000 pupils sat for the remedial exams last year, which was a huge jump from the 1,000 who did so in 2016.

He commended the John Mahama-led government for introducing the system, he said interest in the resit was low before 2017 because there was no space in SHSs for those who passed the resit.

He also said, the issue of ability to pay was a disincentive for the students to resit, adding that because of school fees, even when they passed they could not continue their education.

The Deputy Minister also said government’s decision  to absorb BECE registration fees also increased the number of students writing the BECE, noting that the dropout rate in junior high schools (JHSs) had been high because some parents struggled to pay BECE registration fees for their wards.

Giving a short address,  the Director of Programmes at the CDD, Dr Franklin Oduro, expressed delight that the forum was held to give the public the opportunity to contribute towards the development of education in the country and that the worry of the CDD was how the government would assure the citizenry that the new educational system would enhance the quality of education in the country.

He described the double-track system as “an excellent system”.

But former acting Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Mr Charles Tsegah, expressed his reservation about it, saying there was not enough consultation before its implementation insisting that the system was a “shift system.”

He also added thatgovernment should reconsider the “no student should be left behind” mantra and adopt the cut-off point policy for admission to SHSs.

Fmeanwhile, Programmes Director of Star-Ghana, Mr Amidu Ibrahim-Tanko, said education was fundamental to the development of the country and stressed the need for consensus building on educational matters.

The engagement was attended by civil society organisations, stakeholders in education and media organisations.


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