The Headmistress of the Yaa Asantewaa Girls Senior High School in Kumasi, Mrs. Esuandi Eshun Fameyeh, has appealed to government to as a matter of urgency, revise the scheduled recess period for 3rd year students at the Senior High School from December 2019 to March 2020 to December 2019 to January 2020.
If this request is granted, the schools will be able to adequately prepare the final year students who are also candidates for the West African Secondary Schools Certificate Examinations, (WASSCE), to be written from April next year.
Mrs. Fameyeh, who made the appeal through the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education, advocated also that steps be taken to end the Double Track system within two years even though the policy has some notable positives on education.
Members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education were on a facts-finding tour of carefully selected senior high schools in the Ashanti region after accomplishing a similar mission to the Bono East, Bono and Ahafo regions.
At the Toase Senior High School, the MPs’ first interacted with the management and teaching staff of the schools during which the Headmaster, Osei Agyekum, made a power point presentation about current state of affairs at the school regarding the free SHS, Double Track system, infrastructure among other things.
He said the free SHS and the double track system have shot up the school’s enrollment from three thousand, 335 before the free SHS to the current student population of more than five thousand making the school one of the three most populous Senior High Schools in Ghana.
Mr. Agyekumhene said despite the laudable attributes of the two policies, there is an unbearable pressure on the limited infrastructure available such as classrooms, library and dormitories.
The visually impaired English Teacher of the school is also compelled by circumstances to procure his own teaching aids such as braille for lessons while no provision has been made for his easy accessibility to the physical infrastructure.
The MPs’ inspected ongoing projects to augment existing facilities. They were however not happy about the sanitary condition at the school especially for boys at their dormitory as they have to resort to pit latrine.
At the Yaa Asantewaa SHS, the Headmistress, Mrs. Esuandi Eshun Fameyeh, also spoke well of the free SHS and double track system policies and said students from hinterlands are now able to gain admission to the school, a situation which she noted, is good for girl child education.
Mrs. Fameyeh said the challenge now is the long vacation period scheduled for the third year students who will be writing the WASSCE from April next year and appealed to the GES to reduce the re-opening date to January instead of March.
Touching on the Double Track System, the Headmistress noted that the policy has come in handy for school authorities to deal with the astronomical student enrollment.
However, when asked by an MP if the Double Track system should be a permanent feature on the academic system, Mrs. Fameyeh said should be faced out within two years. She spoke about other challenges that require attention.
The Ranking Member of the Committee, Peter Nortsu-Kortoe, commended authorities of the schools toured for their frankness in presenting the situations as are prevailing.
He blamed the pressure on facilities on the failure of contractors to complete ongoing projects on time.
The Chairman of the Committee,William Agyapong Quaitoo, said the aim for the facts-finding tour was achieved and expressed optimism that the challenges would be addressed soon to enable government meet its timeline of ending the Double Track system within seven years.
Story filed by Nicholas Osei-Wusu