The Member of Parliament for Sekondi has hit back at critics of government’s double track policy.
Andrews Agyapa Mercer said it is unthinkable to suggest that the government should allow some students to stay at home until the necessary infrastructure is provided before the Free SHS policy—which has increased the numbers drastically—is implemented.
Speaking on the AM Show on the Joy News channel Monday, Mr Mercer likened the double track system to how churches hold two or more services on Sundays.
“He and I attend some church in Tema every now and then. They have two services, why don’t they build separate churches for the people who want to attend at various times…” he argued.
He added that the same idea is what is being applied to the school system, because the government cannot afford to keep students at home until all necessary infrastructure is built.
“So many churches organise different services in a day for different categories of people, same principle is being applied to the educational system to make sure that no Ghanaian child who has qualified to go to Senior High is left behind,” the MP said.
“Whose child should stay at home until all the structures are built,” he added.
Mr Mercer was reacting to critics of the government’s Free SHS policy which has necessitated the introduction of a double track system to deal with the huge numbers that are expected to enroll on SHS come September 2018.
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.
Scores of critics including the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have argued that the new policy will lead to a breakdown of second cycle education in the country.
Ex-President John Mahama tweeted about the policy
Introducing shift system for SHS? It doesn’t help to continue to implement this all important free SHS programme on an ad hoc basis. It’s not too late to hold a comprehensive national consultation to forge a consensus on a sustainable framework for its implementation. #Ghana— John Dramani Mahama (@JDMahama) 25 July 2018
But the government is unfazed. The president argues that the double track will create more contact hours between students and teachers.
Tamale North MP, Alhassan Suhuyini who was also on the AM Show Monday criticized the policy saying that the Akufo-Addo-led government was just implementing the policy in an ad-hoc manner.
Suggesting a different way, Mr Suhuyini noted that the government could take the suggestion of the private schools-- who have suffered drastic reduction in enrolment due to the Free SHS policy--and offload some of the numbers to them and pay the fees for them.
“If your intention is to give my ward free education, why do you determine that it must be in a public school; is that not deception,” he said.
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