- The double-track system came to manage students’ enrolments competing for space, logistics and basic needs within the learning environment. It has worked to some extent but needs critical evaluation to synthesise the challenges and recommend possible solutions for its progress.
Written By Rev. Fr Jonas Richmond Atarah - The Ghana Education Service and the Conference of Heads of Assisted Senior High Schools (CHASS) but for the untimely postponement of the re-opening date for third-year senior high students that caused inconveniences to parents and their wards must be commended. Meanwhile, it has opened the eyes of stakeholders of education to readily and seriously get involved in making recommendations for greater outcomes of the free senior high education policy. Government must be commended for holding the fort of free senior high school education uninterrupted for more than three years. Past governments were seriously challenged in releasing feeding grants meant only for northern schools to meet their re- opening dates.
How much more can a government then not be challenged to accommodate, feed, and provide infrastructure and logistics for the 405 senior High schools throughout the country with the increasing number of students since September 2017? In October 2020, CHASS called on the government to review the free education policy to committedly involve parents and teachers and also improve the buffer stock system for the quality and quantity of food in order to achieve all its targeted goals. The recommendations were viewed with political lenses but the continued challenges should make us admit the reality that the system needs overhauling.
The double-track system came to manage students’ enrolments competing for space, logistics and basic needs within the learning environment. It has worked to some extent but needs critical evaluation to synthesise the challenges and recommend possible solutions for its progress. Education forms the mind, heart and hands of the nation. Consequently, we shall cause ourselves dearly in our manner of propaganda analyses. We can blame the COVID-19 pandemic for the truncated education system.
However, accountability lies in the disjointed-track implementation process of the free senior high policy. Critical analysts may agree that the implementers are 100 meters ahead of the button receivers while the spectators are confused. If not so, how is the academic calendar planned, managed and communicated that the Ghana Education Service with all its competence and professionalism could resort to irregular changes of opening and closing dates to the risk of students and the inconveniences of parents and teachers?
We do not need a rocket scientist to tell us that education directors and teachers are struggling to plan and re-plan as well as manage affairs with unpredictable changes in the teaching and learning process. Moreover, parents and teachers are struggling to deal with truancies amidst teenage pregnancies, drug addictions and juvenile crimes. As we keep changing plans like the colours of a chameleon, we could only camouflage the system but would not support education to move forward and far.
The Ghana Education Service that wants an uninterrupted instructional period for the candidates should likewise consider the fact that students also need time for rest and recreation to refresh their minds for retentive memories and above all need more time for their personal studies to digest and assimilate their lessons. Plato who was the student of the famous philosopher Socrates says, “All learning is in the learner, not the teacher.” We owe posterity the duty to provide an enabling environment for the students now, else posterity will turn its ugly head against our destiny. Let us leave the political gymnastics on the implementation of the free education policy and hold the bull by the horns for education to be tied in a greenfield for effective and efficient teaching and learning.
The free education policy must be freed from disjointed track implementers for the hands of stakeholders of education to actualize.
NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE NEED FOR ALL STAKEHOLDERS TO BE INVOLVED IN THE FREE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION POLICY DECISION MAKING.
BY: REV. FR JONAS RICHMOND ATARAH, CATHOLIC PRIEST OF NAVRONGO-BOLGATANGA DIOCESE.