UER discusses double track system

Heads of second cycle institutions in the Upper East Region (UER) have listed a number of challenges that are likely to confront the double track system of the Senior High School (SHS) scheduled for September 2018/2019 academic year.

The heads mentioned lack of classrooms, dining halls, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities as some of the major challenges.

They stressed that most of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund) projects initiated at the various schools in the region, which could have help resolve some of the challenges had come to a standstill as majority of the contractors have abandoned their work.

The heads raised the challenges at a meeting organised on Friday by the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) in Bolgatanga to discuss the implementation of the double track system, the challenges and the way forward.

“As it stands now the few dormitories are overcrowded and to compound the situation most of the schools lack dining halls compelling the students to eat in the open, which often exposes them to rain anytime it falls,” some of the heads complained.

The Upper East Regional chairperson of the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS), Mrs Francisca Yizura, who is also the headmistress of the Navrongo SHS, stated that if these challenges were not addressed before the implementation of the double track system, the programme might suffer.

Whilst commending government for making a pledge to recruit 8,000 new teachers to augment the teaching staff of the SHSs in the country, the Regional chairperson of CHASS, pointed out that currently UER schools lacked non-teaching staff such as cooks and watchmen.

The rest of the problems the heads mentioned were lack of office accommodation, furniture and the purchasing of electricity from the Volta River Authority (VRA) to power the fixed pre-paid metres provided them by the VRA.

Responding to the concerns raised by the heads, the outgoing Upper East Regional Minister, Rockson Bukari Ayine,  explained that the double tracking system was just an interim measures to cater for the increasing numbers of students, while the government  worked on putting up more infrastructure to address the situation.

He disclosed that an amount of US$500 million was being sought for by the GETFund to complete existing structures in all the schools whilst new ones are initiated.

He mentioned the efforts made by the government for the provision of 96,414 mono desk,  32,171 dining hall furniture,  3,033 tables and chairs for teachers, 12,953 bunk beds , 4,335  students mattresses and 5,135 computer laboratory chairs for the schools as part of  the measures to help address the problem.

Mr Ayine told the heads that the government’s  Free SHS Policy was one of the best policies which had come to stay and appealed to them to put in their best whilst government continued to gradually solve the teething problems.

 

FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA

 

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