A senior research fellow at the University of Education, Winneba, Dr Daniel Yielpieri says “the disadvantages associated with double tracking system of the Free SHS will outweigh the advantages” hence could cause social crises.
Speaking on Adom FM’s political talk show, Burning Issues, Dr Yielpieri said the longevity of the students’ stay at home will make “the devil find job for idle hands”.
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Government plans to roll out the double-track (semester/sandwich) system to cater for increased enrollment under its flagship programme, the Free Senior High School, due to deficits in infrastructure.
“The objectives of the double-track system are to create room to accommodate an increase in enrollment, reduce class size, increase contact hours, and increase the number of holidays”, the education ministry has explained.
The senior research fellow thinks the long vacation that students will spend at home will provide them with the laxity to engage in vices.
He says many parents cannot finance extra tuition for their wards and vices like internet fraud, teenage pregnancy among others are likely to sprout during the long vacations.
With regard to funding the Free SHS, he says there should be a partnership between parents and the government so that the former will also take some responsibility.
Despite the challenges that Dr Yielpieri thinks the double tracking system will bring, he lauded the Free SHS system, saying “government should allow us, the parents and other stakeholders to help so that we all can achieve the ultimate objective” when it comes to its funding.
“With the public sector salary workers, government would be able to determine those who can pay for their children even though some people will say it is discrimination” he indicated.
Meanwhile, Economist and Head of Finance at the University of Ghana Business School, Professor Godfred Alufar Bokpin, speaking on the same programme, said the Free SHS is a bold decision government has taken and must be applauded for it.
He said the benefits to be derived from the policy may not be visible in instantly, indicating that “One of the critical assets as a country we have to generate is human capital and we cannot negotiate on that one”.
Prof. Bokpin has however suggested the coupon system for the government to adopt so that it can secure funds to sustain the policy for a longer period.
The coupon system is where a capped amount is paid for every student so that parents who prefer to send their wards to private schools with extra cost will defray the difference.