Posted by / Saturday 8 September 2018 / No comments

Ghana’s double-track system: two colours as determinants

   African, Student, Bicycle, Girl, School 
By Divine Sewornu Dzokoto

The colours green and yellow, which have been important in early childhood education and traffic control, have now become even more important in Ghana’s free SHS flagship programme.

Fulfilling a campaign promise
As part of the its campaign promise before the 2016 general elections, the New Patriotic Party promised to ensure that every qualified Junior High School graduate receives secondary school education free of charge. With the party’s electoral fortunes in December of 2016, the ruling government is redeeming the campaign promise; however, the implementation is facing infrastructural problems.

The largest opposition party in Ghana’s parliament, the National Democratic Congress, which counter-proposed the progressively free secondary school education model in the 2016 electoral campaigns, opposed the wholesale implementation of the free SHS by the government on the grounds of inadequate infrastructure, among other things. Other entities which opposed the programme included IMANI Ghana, a Ghanaian Think Tank and the Integrated Social development Centre (ISODEC).

Implementation and infrastructural problems
The government of Ghana went ahead with the implementation of the free SHS anyway in spite of the many voices of caution. After just one academic year, the much envisaged problem of inadequate infrastructure has reared its ugly head and in order to go around it, the government is introducing the double-track system in the 2018/19 academic year.

Double tract solution
The double-tract system, which is to apply only to the first years for now, divides the teachers and the students into two large groups. One group shall start school and be in school for 40 days. When they vacate, the second group will then go to use the same facilities also for 40 days, marking the end of the first semester. The first group will now go back for another 40 days to end their academic year. In all, there going to be two semesters for the first year students. Four hundred secondary schools out of the over 600 have been selected to implement the programme.

Woman, Book, Read, Library, Young, Human

After the release of the Basic Education Certificate Examination results by the West African Examinations Council, 423,134 qualified students have been placed in their choice of schools by the Computerized Schools Selection and Placement Centre. With this done, the colours green and yellow have become important in determining who goes to school now and who goes later. Green means a student must proceed to school when the 2018/19 academic school session starts and gold colour means you need to wait.

Relevance of green and gold colours
If one recalls the nursery rhyme where “green” means GO and “yellow” means GET READY, one will see how similarly the two colours are being used by the implementers of the double-tract system to prevent the congestion that is likely to occur if this was left in the hands of the heads of the various second cycle institutions. Thankfully, the third colour in the famous nursery rhyme RED has been discarded; otherwise there would have been a stop sign for some of the qualified students.

The first group with the colour green starts school on 11th September and comes back home after 40 days while the second group with the yellow colour goes to school on 8th November also for 40 days.

What do you think about the double-track education system? Do you foresee any more hitches ahead? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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