A notable civil society organisation that champions education excellence in Ghana has criticised the Education Ministry’s ongoing process to roll out the double-track semester system in Senior High Schools.

A member of the Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC), Kofi Asare, revealed on Monday that the Coalition was surprised when information about government’s intention to roll out the system hit the headlines.

“The Coalition was taken aback because [we] only got to know about this in the media when the Minister was addressing stakeholders in Aburi. We are still wondering why the Ministry would like to keep civil society, even teacher unions, in the dark on such an important policy; especially when the Coalition is represented on the Ministerial Advisory Board,” he told the host of current affairs programme, PM Express, Nana Ansah Kwao IV.

The GNECC is not the only institution criticising the government for poor consultation ahead of the implementation of the double-track policy.

President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has also said elsewhere that the association is yet to meet to discuss the system.

 Angel Carbonu said the teachers’ association was not consulted but only informed on the new policy for Senior High Schools.

On the PM Express Monday, Kofi Asare also stated: “It is said in development practice that participation is always critical to the success of a social policy. However, the lowest form of participation is information and the highest and most preferable form of participation is consultation. On this policy, we are being informed and not consulted. That is our problem.”

Double-track system

The double year-round system divides the entire student body and staff into two different tracks. So while one track is in school, the other is on vacation.

The rotation sequence will depend on the year-round calendar being used. In Ghana, the school calendar starts from September and ends in April with three different terms.

The first term is from September to December, the second term starts in January and ends in April while the third term is from April/May to July.

Furthermore, every semester will be 80 days for the two tracks. For one semester, every track will be in school for 40 days then go for a break for 40 days.

Teacher motivation has been increased from 20 hours for the year to 70 hours for the year. Teachers will be increased so every group goes on break with the track they teach.

Consultation ongoing

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Ghana Education Service (GES) Council, Michael Nsowah, says the complaints about non-consultation may becoming a bit too early.

According to him, there are active consultations ongoing, suggesting that all relevant stakeholders have been marked for discussion before the policy that aims to improve student enrollment into the free SHS programme.

“As I speak now, consultations are still going on. I know that last week, a group of experts [from universities] were consulted. We have had discussions with the minister. He briefed us on the situation on the ground and what they intend to do,” he said.

He said the experts have made recommendations that are likely to be adopted when the system rolls out fully.

Watch more in the video below.