Some parents in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region say they are frustrated by the cost implications of the double track system following government’s implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy. They say it’s rather expensive.
Introduced in 2018-2019 academic year, the double track system divides the entire student body and staff into two different tracks. It creates an academic calendar of two semesters in a year, containing 80 days per each semester and 40 days of vacation. This implies that while one track is in school, the other is on vacation.
Using this as a temporary measure to address the accommodation challenges in the various SHSs in the country, resulting from an increase in intake due to the Free SHS policy, Government has indicated that the system will last for five to seven years; to allow time for adequate educational infrastructural development; after which, SHSs will revert to the normal educational calendar.
Meanwhile, the affected parents have indicated that, the implementation of the Free SHS and subsequently, the double track system is draining them financially.
Speaking to TopNews Ghana, the aggrieved parents said they are under huge pressure to raise additional money to pay for remedial classes for their wards.
Amando Williams, a concerned parent said “We were told that this [Free SHS] policy is for our good, that it’s supposed to relieve us of the burden of paying huge school fees for our wards in secondary schools, but on the contrary, it is costing us much more than we could ever imagine. In this vacation alone, I am paying Ghs350.00 for each of my three wards to attend extra classes. Immediately after that, I must get ready a send them off back to their school, and this is going to go on and on and on till they complete school in three years time.”
“Clearly, the double track system is killing us. How can you say we are enjoying free secondary school education when you have vacated these children to come and sit in the house from December to March? Now, there’s no money in the country but if you want your child to do well, you have get money from anywhere and pay for them to do extra classes. Government must do something to help us.” Another affected parent, Adams Anas lamented.
Kakra Francis noted that “Take a walk around town; you will see posters and banners advertising vacation classes. Call and ask; they will tell you to pay Ghs20 or more for a subject per month. As I speak, I owe someone, yes; I went and borrowed money because my daughter in secondary school was standing on my neck to give her money to attend vacation classes. In fact, we are suffering now.
SOURCE; topnewsghana.com /P. K Fordjour