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NO COMPLEX ISSUES INVOLVED IN FREE SHS IMPLEMENTATION

General News

The Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has given assurance to the general public and stakeholders in education that there will be no hitches in implementing the free SHS education initiative, since teething issues have been addressed in the implementation guidelines, with parents’ concerns already taken into consideration in rolling out the programme.

The Minister of Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has given assurance to the general public and stakeholders in education that there will be no hitches in implementing the free SHS education initiative, since teething issues have been addressed in the implementation guidelines, with parents’ concerns already taken into consideration in rolling out the programme.

 

Additionally, he indicated that the Ghana Education Service will commence the mandatory semester system for all senior secondary schools in the country at the beginning of the 2018/2019 academic year.

“The Ghana Education Service, from the beginning of the 2018/2019 academic year would introduce the semester system in all senior high schools. From this year, the two semester system is what will be functional in this country,” he emphasised.

He explained that the move formed part of measures to bridge the 181,993 gap that exists in the educational systems due to increased enrolment under the free SHS policy and the insufficient infrastructure to accommodate the students.

The Education Minister said this at the third Meet-the-Press series this year for his outfit under the theme, “No qualified child should be left behind.”

Dr Opoku Prempeh further explained that the 181,993 gap had also called for the need to put into action the double-track school calendar system for all SHS 1 students during the second implementation of Free SHS programme preparation for 2018/19 academic year.

“If we are going to cater for them, we need to construct 622-classroom blocks, fit those classrooms with mono desks, teacher’s furniture, dormitories to commensurate the number and bunk beds into those schools. We did the sum based on the 2017/2018 pricing and we realised we needed GHC1.3billion,” he said.

He added: “even if we have GHC1billion, there is no way we will be able to build the 622 classroom blocks and fit it for occupation before September,” hence the need for the temporary double-track system.

                                                                        The new system

According to him, the double-track system is expected to create room to accommodate the projected increased enrolment, to reduce class size, increase contact hours, and increase the number of holidays.

He further explained that the double track system would run as track green and track gold for the SHS 1 class, containing 81 days per each semester and 41 days of vacation for a holiday class.

He indicated that only 400 out of the 696 schools in the country have been selected to run the double-track system, adding that, once the infrastructure deficit is bridged, the system will be improved substantially. 

Dr Opoku Prempeh said teaching days would reduce to 162 days under the new system from 180 days in the existing system. He added that the contact hours would also reduce to 7 hours. Similarly, average vacation for teachers per year would increase from 84 days (12 weeks) currently to 112 days (16 weeks) when double-track is implemented, while the number of days in boarding will drop from 265 days in the existing system to 225 under the new system.

                                                                 Academic intervention plans

Furthermore, the sector Minister said 8,872 teachers would be recruited to support the existing teachers, as they will not be deprived of their holidays.

The Minister said the government would provide GHS50 per head for all the 696 schools that would in turn cater for the teeming number of students.

“Teachers who want to teach extra lessons in Maths and English will not be expected charge the students, but the government will find ways to give them the money to be able to cater for those students,” he added

The minister further disclosed that the new system is expected to cost GHC323,061,739 to fully implement. The costs, he explained, comprises GHC267,236,989 for teaching and GHC55,824,750 for academic interventions.