General News of Saturday, 15 September 2018
The Deputy Education Minister has rejected suggestions that implementation of the double-track system will negatively affect quality of senior high school education.
Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum said the country already has an appalling school system and government is devising ways to improve on the situation, not worsen it.
Speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme, Newsfile, the Deputy Minister, who is the pioneer of the new system said, the current quality challenges should not be associated with the double-track system.
“We already have a terrible school system…when you look at the WASSCE [West African Senior Secondary Examination], year in and out about 65 percent do not get the credit that takes them to tertiary, that tells you, you don’t have a system that is functioning well.
“So something needs to be done, but that something that needs to be done should not be linked to the double-track system. Let’s begin to track performance going forward,” he added.
Government has rolled out the double-track system as a measure to address congestion in senior high schools following the implementation of the Free SHS programme.
The first batch of double-track students – green track – have reported to 400 public schools to begin the intervention government expects will help address the infrastructure challenges it is faced with.
Many fear governments apparent rush in implementing the programme spells doom for the quality of education in the country.
But Dr Adutwum disagrees. The Bosomtwe MP said the concerns are genuine but the double-track system will not make things worse.
He said the quality issues are largely due to a number of factors, one of which is the country’s accreditation regime.
Although the School Inspectorate Board is making some progress on classroom arrangements and mode of teaching, in the Deputy Minister wants to see a further improvement.
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“We are doing what people call ‘chew, pour, pass and forget’ and I call that ‘chew, pour, fail and forget’. Children are not retaining the learning in such a way that when it is exams time they don’t have to memorise and they can still do well.
“So before [introduction of] double-track, the system has not been performing,” he added.
In order to address the issue, however, Dr Adutwum has disclosed plans by the Ministry of Education to roll out an assessment programme for two subjects- English Language and Mathematics.
“That means every single student will do assessment in primary Two, Four and Six,” to determine how pupils are performing at every level, he said.
Headteachers whose pupils fail this assessment will then have to devise ways of improving the situation at that level before they progress to the next stage.