The Minority National Democratic Congress, (NDC) in Parliament says the hurried manner in which the government introduced the Free Senior High School, (FSHS) Programme has led to a high rate of teenage pregnancy in some Senior High Schools.
According to the Minority, records show that in the 2018/2019 Academic Year alone, more than one thousand 433 Girls in SHS were impregnated and dropped out of school.
Addressing the media in Accra, Ranking Member on Education, Peter Nortsu – Kotoe said the long breaks given to the students are not helping matters at all.
With the double track system, Students spend eight weeks at school and the same length of time at home, he added.
He mentioned that, the Double Track System which looks like traffic light, in relation to ‘yellow batch and green batch’ are not helping in the delivery of quality education in the Senior High Schools.
Mr. Nortsu Kotoe added that, one major disadvantage of the ‘Double Track’ system is the area where many heads of second cycle institutions are afraid to comment……”that has to do with high rate of teenage pregnancies being recorded in some Senior High Schools”.
“A case in point was the postponement of the reporting date for the 2nd year gold track students from 15th October to November 12th 2019, which postponement was announced by the GES on 14th October, only a day to the originally scheduled reopening date.
The Double Track also puts undue pressure on the non-teaching staff, especially the Kitchen and Administrative Staff, Headmasters, Senior Housemasters etc”.
He also alleged that, some Housemasters, have not gone on any vacation since the introduction of the ‘Doublc Track’ system, putting their health at “risk and the lack of rest for them is negatively affecting their performance”.
He said the Minority is not against free SHS because, “the Minority in 2017, addressed the Press on the Free Senior High School and advised the Nana Addo government to hasten slowly on the implementation of the Free Senior High School Programme at the time; but was misconstrued to mean that we were against the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme”.
“Our major concern at the time was that the govemment had not provided the necessary infrastructure and logistics that were critically needed for the take-off of the programme. This was ignored and we all saw what happened, such as overcrowding in the dormltones as well as classrooms.”
Mr. Nortsu – Kotoe said the system has also brought untold hardship and burden on, especially the non teaching staff.
He also spoke about other challenges associated with the implementation of the free SHS Policy, including the quality of food, non supply of Textbooks, and the ban on payment of PTA Levies.
The MPs’ also bemoaned what it described as a culture of silence, where School Heads are barred from openly complaining about the challenges they are going through.
Story filed by Edzorna Mensah