A deliberate attempt by the government to eliminate Double Track system at the senior high school level of the country’s education, appears to be yielding positive results as new projects have reached various completion stages.
At least some 804 facilities which started in 2017 under the Senior High School Intervention Projects (SHSIPs), are expected to be ready for use by the start of the 2019/2020 academic year.
The projects consist of the construction of new classroom blocks, administration blocks, dormitory blocks, assembly halls, laboratory as well as toilet facilities.
Others include the rehabilitation and expansion of existing facilities that will enable the schools to have the requisite space to adequately cater for the first year and continuing students.
They have reached various completion stages.
Completed 6-Unit Classroom Block, Hilla Limann SHS at Gwollu
A document sighted by Myjoyonline indicates the infrastructural projects which are in different phases, are being put up in senior high schools across the country.
The beneficiary schools are located in the Greater Accra, Volta, Oti, Eastern, Western, North East, Upper West, Upper East, Central, Ahafo, Bono East and Bono regions.
Progress of work
The 2018/2019 academic year saw an exceptionally large number of 764 intervention projects comprising the construction of entirely new facilities, most of which have been completed while others are said to be at finishing stages.
The rest have either reached roofing or they have had their roofing done and are being given finishing touches.
In the same year, the Ashanti and then Brong Ahafo regions benefited from a total of eight (six and two respectively) of the projects, which were primarily for the rehabilitation of existing facilities.
In the previous 2017/2018 academic year, a total of 32 of the projects were undertaken, the document indicated.
All these add to a total of 804 intervention projects.
The Ghana Education Service, since the Government’s introduction of the free senior high school education policy in 2017, has been challenged with inadequate space to cater for the extremely large number of students who graduate from the basic to secondary levels of the country’s education system.
In 2017 when the policy was first rolled out, a total of 424,092 students qualified to be placed in the various Senior High School (SHS) as well as Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) schools under the GES across the country.
Why free SHS?
Education Minister, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh
According to records from the GES, in 2013, out of 352,202 students that were placed in senior high schools by the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS), 90,604 could not enroll and in 2014, out of 386,412 students, 113,260 could not enroll.
In 2015, 115,363 out of 415,012 students could not enroll while 111,336 of the 420,135 students failed to enroll in 2016.
The government then sought to introduce the free SHS policy which absorbs all approved fees that were charged before the 2017/2018 in public SHS and TVET Institutions.
This saw the over 100,000 students who would have seen the door shut to them partly due to their parent’s inability to fund their secondary education, gain access into a school to pursue their academic dreams.
Read also: Free SHS must end teenage pregnancy, child marriage – Gender Minister
In September 2018, the Ministry of Education introduced the Double Track policy –the game-changing move- aimed at curing the severe congestion in classrooms and pressure on already inadequate infrastructure.
This system brought to an end the over 70-years-old educational cycle, which now runs on two semesters instead of the previously three-term system.
Read also: Double track temporary but semester system is permanent – Gov't changes SHS education
Government’s infrastructural intervention projects at the senior high schools will thus significantly reduce pressure on school facilities and eventually see the double-track system being phased out in a couple of years to come.
Below is detailed information about the sighting of the various SHIPs, beneficiary schools as well as the progress of work.