General News of Saturday, 6 October 2018
The government appears to be quietly cancelling the Double Track System under the Free Senior High School (SHS) in schools in the Northern Region following lack of basic teaching and learning structure.
The two Deputy Director Generals of the ministry of education after a meeting with head teachers of second cycle schools on Tuesday, in Tamale, asked some schools to withdraw the system after receiving “discouraging” reports of low enrollments due to infrastructure constraints, MyNewsGh.com has filed.
The withdrawal of the system shows a strong sign of government’s unwillingness to tackle the over-weighing infrastructure deficit plaguing the Free Senior High School programme, at least in the short-run, as promised.
One of such schools where government has backtracked the system is the Tatale Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Agriculture Senior High School in the Northern Region after the school authorities presented a report to education authorities that says nearly 100 students posted under the tracking system were not admitted due to inadequate classrooms and hostel facilities.
Already, two other schools, Pong Tamale Senior High School and St. Charles Mini Seminary School, due to lack of infrastructure, after their dormitories were separately gutted by fire.
The Assistant Headmaster of the school, Francis Sanekey, said students placed under the Double Track System refused to report because it is a Day School with inadequate infrastructure.
“When the enrollment started we realized that the numbers were not coming, so yesterday they went to meet a team came from Accra, the two deputy directors they came from Accra. So when we presented the enrollment to them, they saw the numbers were not encouraging, so they said we should rather stop the double track and go the Single Track System”, the headmaster confirmed to a delegation led by Member of Parliament of the area, Tampi Simon Acheampong.
The Tatale EP was absorbed by government in 2006 and now has over a thousand (1000) students studying only two courses- Agriculture and General Arts in just four small sized structures and three pavilion that have been left uncompleted since the inception of the school over a decade now.
According to the headmaster, the only reason the students turned down their placements was because the school lacked classrooms and hostels to accommodate them.
“People who were placed here refused to come because the school is a Day School and they don’t have classrooms to stay. They feel that they can’t come to cook and that’s actually affecting the school in so many ways”, Sanekey explaining further said; “academically, it’s very bad for the school, because, students will close from school and instead of relaxing, they have to use all their time cooking in the night before they finish they are tired and cannot learn”.
He begged authorities to construct “at least 12 unit classrooms” to improve teaching and learning in the school.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Tampi Acheampong Simon who was in the school to handover a facility he constructed, said the government was gambling its way to escape tackling the infrastructure challenge.
He described the infrastructure situation at the school as a “pity” and said government’s delays in giving the school a boarding status was deliberately “unfair treatment”, promising to trigger a conversation in parliament to press the government to tackle the situation in order to improve enrollment.
“The school is having a lot of infrastructure deficit. The school has produced a lot of graduates and if you look at the infrastructure of the school and its pity”.
“The school I understand has applied to the government to upgrade to a boarding status, so myself as the Member of Parliament, have written a letter and attached their request just to reecho it and gave them a reminder but nothing is being done. Other schools that applied with Tatale Agric Senior High School have been upgraded to boarding status”, he alleged.