The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah has said that the introduction of the Double-Track System in some selected Senior High Schools (SHS), has done a great service to nearly 200,000 Junior High School (JHS) leavers who otherwise would have been left in the house as a result of lack of space to accommodate them.
The initiative introduced by the Ministry of Education, he added, is the best option to manage the existing infrastructure and space in the various SHS, wondering what the situation could have been if the system had not been implemented.
“Between 2013 and 2016, about 100,000 children every year who passed their BECE and were placed in Senior High Schools did not take up their place. This translated to about 28% of the total number of BECE candidates. This meant that in one decade, we would be saddled with about 1 million citizens whose highest point of education would be junior high school. You cannot build a country that way and become globally competitive, particularly in the 21st Century knowledge economy. In the first year of the Free SHS policy, the rate of students who did not enroll after being placed fell to about 17% from the annual average of 28%”.
Hon. Ofori Asiamah made this observation at the weekend during the 75th Anniversary Speech and Prize Giving Day celebration of Ghana Senior High School in Effiduasi – Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
He said “In 2018, the number of candidates who registered for the BECE jumped from 468,060 in 2017 to 521,710. The 2017 figure was the highest since 2013. According to our 2018 projections, out of the 521,710 candidates who sat for the BECE this year, 472,730 candidates are expected to enroll when placed. This represents a massive 30.7% jump over the 2017 figure of 361,770 enrolled students. The rise in percentage terms between 2016 and 2017 was 17.2%”, he said.
He added “By implementing the double track system, we are able to ensure that we make the best possible use of the space and resources available to us in our schools, throughout the year. Schools that operate the double track system have increased their Form One intake by up to 50% of their usual Form One capacity, and the students are placed on either of two tracks, the green and gold tracks”.
The Minister of Transport who himself is an old student of Ghana Senior High School, represented President Akufo-Addo as the Special Guest of Honour.
He said it is government’s position that every child who qualifies to be in Senior High School must be given the opportunity to do so, stressing that it was out of this idea that the double track system was born, as an intervention to address the unavailability of space in the various Senior High Schools.
“Schools that operate the Double-Track System have increased their Form One intake by up to 50% of their usual Form One capacity, and the students are placed on either of two tracks, the green and gold tracks”, he posited.
He said to deliver effective teaching and learning with the Double-Track System, the government led by Nana Addo is engaging about 8,000 extra teachers into the various Senior High Schools.
He further noted that GETFund has secured a US$500 million facility to enable it invest in school infrastructure to cope with the rising numbers.
“These and other interventions are to ensure that quality education is assured to impact on our development agenda. I believe sincerely that in the circumstances, the Double-Track System is the best way to give true meaning to our vision of ensuring that as many children as possible who qualify to enter Senior High School are able to do so, even with the limited resources we have at present by way of infrastructure”, he underscored.
Hon. Ofori Asiamah assured parents who have demonstrated some sort of anxiety and worries over the system to free their minds since the government genuinely believes and is determined to pursue the path of ensuring educational opportunities for all.
The Headmaster of the school, Very Rev. Abraham Osei Donkor, on his part acknowledged both teachers and other supporting staff whose relentless efforts have helped to sustain the school.
He also paid glowing tribute to past and present students of the school who have worked hard to ensure the progress of the school.
“It is the performance of the students within and quality of life led by the products of the school in the larger society that serve as the yardstick to measure our quality as the Beacons of the East”, he noted.
The headmaster gave an overview of the annual performance of the students, stressing that WASSCE results have improved tremendously and about 85% of the students end up in tertiary institutions in recent years.
He admonished the current students to take advantage of the huge investment by the government, old students, staff and parents to make their future better.
The Boys Prefect of the school, Master Martin Ohemeng Gyekye recounted the achievements of the school in the areas of academics, sports and discipline.
He made a passionate appeal to President Akufo-Addo to assist the school to get a bus.
Attending the program were some old students including Michael Nsowah, Chairman of Ghana Education Service (GES) Council; Nana Adjei Boateng, Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development and MP for New Juaben North; Ambassador Kwabena Baah Duodu, businessman Dr. Michael Addo Agyekum, Michael Okyere Baafi, CEO of Ghana Free Zones Authority; and the Head of Civil Service, Nana Kwesi Agyekum Dwamena among a host of others.