The Deputy Minister of Education in charge of General Education and MP for Bosomtwe constituency in the Ashanti region Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, has revealed that, government has continued and completed thirteen (13) of the community day senior high school (SHS), well known as ‘E-block schools’, which was started by the Mahama administration and are ready to be mainstreamed in the next academic year come September, 2018.

To him, there was the perception that the development of the community day ‘E -SHSs’ started by the Mahama administration had been abandoned. Meanwhile, 46 out of the 200 E-SHSs promised to be constructed were completed and 123 of them were under construction as at the time of handing over power to the NPP administration in January 2017.

He However, elaborated that, the double-track system was introduced to mainly deal with the congestion challenges being faced by the various schools in the country. Saying, “It is a temporary solution that would give the government a breathing space to deal with the infrastructure deficit facing the country.”

The Deputy Minister was speaking at a dialogue on Ghana’s Education system organized by Daily Graphic dubbed, “Unpacking the double-track system: Implications for sustainable financing and prospects for educational quality in Ghana” which was sponsored by Star Ghana, the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Held at Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT Accra.

Dr. Adutwum, said the ministry was working seriously to facilitate $1.5 billion to aid them to complete all uncompleted projects of SHSs, Basic schools and Tertiary campuses across the country which was part of measures put in place to gradually address the congestion problems in the country’s educational system.

Explaining the measures the ministry had put in place in order to ensure smooth implementation of these policies and to prevent any infrastructural challenges, as the double track system was going to see over 90,000 student enrollment in the various SHSs in Ghana, he said, GETFund was going to borrow from some of the allocated revenues they would receive in 10-years to support it. Saying, $500 million was projected for Senior High School contribution and the completion of every building at its 70% level.

At the tertiary institutions, there would be additional allocation of $500 million to take care of every abandoned uncompleted projects.

Dr. Adutwum further stressed that, the double-track system would also bring an end to the cut-off point system that prevented many of the qualified students from continuing their education at the secondary education level. He emphasized that “It is also to provide the opportunities for students who would have never made it to some of the top schools.”

He emphasized that, the resits of the Basic Education Certificate Examination under the current free SHS policy had shot up interest in the resit examinations. Giving a projected figures to back his statement, he said, 11,000 pupils sat for the remedial exams in 2017, which indicates an increase as compared to the 1,000 pupils who sat in 2016.

Dr. Adutwum, therefore, lauded the previous administration for introducing that system. Saying, the interest in the resit was very low before 2017 since there was no space in the various SHSs for those who passed the resit. Others, he said could not also continue due to financial problems.

He gave an example that, in the North, many students specifically women, were dropping out of school because their parents could not afford to pay for the Basic Education Certificate Exams (BECE). In the South, the numbers were worse. The Ministry, he said, slashed the BECE fees, but found that something more needed to be done. Hence, the introduction of the double track system.

Thus he said, government had however set aside GH¢55, 824,750.

Report by Bernard k.Dadzie