The Education Ministry has rejected as “untrue” reports that government has begun cancelling the double track system in some schools in the Northern region due to congestion.
Government in September introduced the double track system as a component of the free Senior High School (SHS) policy.
Expected to last for seven years, the system is a stop-gap measure employed by the government to accommodate the surge in enrolment under the free-fee education policy.
Many civil society organisations including the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) said the system is a clear indication that the government failed woefully to proper plan for the implementation of the free SHS.
It was reported over the weekend that the Education Ministry through its two Deputy Directors Generals after a meeting with some heads of second cycle schools in Tamale asked some schools to withdraw the system after receiving “discouraging” accounts of low enrolments due to infrastructure constraints.
One of such schools is the Tatale Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Agriculture Senior High School, where authorities of the school presented a report to the directors detailing that about 100 students posted under the double-tracking system were unable to gain admission due to inadequate classrooms and hostel facilities.
“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 Assistant Headmaster of the school, Francis Sanekey.
In a reaction, however, the Education Ministry denied ever cancelling the system in some schools in the Northern Region.
“The Ministry wishes to state that these stories are untrue and that for the avoidance of doubt, no school earmarked for the double track system has had it withdrawn due to infrastructure challenges.
“Government did earmark 400 schools for the double track system on the basis that enrollment in those schools was expected to be high, leading to congestion challenges. Government’s position has always been that the double track system is in response to anticipated congestion in certain schools,” the Ministry said in a statement.
It, however, noted that “in the event that the enrollment figures for a school earmarked as a double track school subsequently fall below the expected threshold, then the school will be taken off the double track system as it will no longer have congestion challenges.”