President Nana Akufo-Addo has shrugged off criticisms of the double intake system, insisting it is the best policy to improve and ensure increased quality of education at the senior high school level.
Critics have warned government over its decision to roll out the double track system in September to address the possible enrolment challenges likely to be faced under the free SHS programme started last academic year.
According to them, the policy has not been well thought through and could face difficulties that could compromise the quality of education.
Government is using the double track system to create room to accommodate the increase enrolment, reduce class sizes and increase contact hours between teachers and students.
In the 2018/2019 academic year starting September this year, 472,000 new students, representing an increase of some 31%, will be admitted into our Senior High Schools.
Under the system, which will have two streams of teachers and students, the number of holidays will increased as government will use the already existing structures.
But speaking at the 70th anniversary celebration of the Ghana National College in Cape Coast Saturday, President Akufo-Addo said he is confident of the success of the system.
“I am confident that the end-result of the system would lead to an increase in quality of our SHS structure,” he stated.
He has thus appealed to parents, teachers, administrators, students, the Parent Teacher Associations, the Regional and District Directors of Education to “embrace this system, and work to make sure that it succeeds”.
He said contrary to what propagandists and professional naysayers would say about the Free Senior High School policy, it has come to stay.
“Free SHS is going to be a permanent feature of the educational architecture of our country, and it is going to be a significant tool for the rapid socio-economic development of our nation,” he assured.
With 90,000 more students entering Senior High School than they did in 2016, President acknowledged that the introduction of the policy meant that there would be challenges of infrastructure.
Notwithstanding, he said his government, cannot wait to address all the issues of infrastructure before it continues with the Free SHS policy.
“Indeed, that was very much the rationale behind Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah’s celebrated Accelerated Development Plan of Education in the 1950s, which ensured a decisive opening up of the educational space for thousands and thousands of young Ghanaians who had, hitherto, been outside the educational net, and which helped satisfy the manpower needs of the early years of our independence,” he said.
The double-intake system, he said, will mean the recruiting of some 8,000 more teachers and the use of a double track school calendar system for the new SHS entrants.
The youth and the future of the country, President Akufo-Addo noted, will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this increased intake of the free SHS policy.