Opposition legislators in Parliament are claiming that more than 1,400 Senior High School (SHS) students got pregnant and dropped out of school in the 2018/2019 academic year.
Although no proof was provided to back the figure, the lawmakers blamed the double-track model that has become associated with the government’s free SHS policy for the pregnant cases.
Under the double-track, one batch of students stays in school for some two months, while another is at home. When the first stream goes on break, the second also goes to school.
The strategy was introduced to curb congestion after the numbers shot up when the government, honouring a campaign promise, removed the financial factor in high school education.
While some experts praised the stop-gap measure, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and their Members of Parliament are far from convinced.
The party believes the double track is killing efficient and quality delivery of education.
At a press conference Wednesday, Ranking Member on Parliament’s (MPs) Education Committee, Peter Nortsu, reiterated that the increasing rate of teenage pregnancies recorded is as a result of the introduction of the double-track system.
He added that the long vacation unnecessarily exposes the students to social risks such as alcoholism and the cultivation of deviant behaviour among others.
The MPs also say the double track is putting an unnecessary burden on the teachers which is adversely affecting their health, Joy News’ Kwesi Parker Wilson reported.
The MPs also say the double-track has failed to cure the problem of congestion due to the huge infrastructure deficit.
According to them, the government has abandoned all the projects the NDC government started before they were ousted in the December 2016 elections.
Meanwhile, former President and 2020 Presidential candidate for the NDC, John Mahama, has vowed to abolish the double-track if elected in 2020.
He said he would do so by, “investing in the expansion of school infrastructure such as additional classroom blocks and dormitories, and the completion of the 200 Community Day Senior High Schools to enable all our children to attend school at the same time and have adequate contact hours with their teachers.”