•The introduction of the Free SHS policy in 2017 resulted in an increase in enrolment by 33.2% (GoG Budget, 2018).

•Civil Society Organisations especially the Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) and other professionals in the field have signalled government on the impending challenges as enrolment continue to increase in our secondary schools.

•The Ministry of Education in its own analysis is projecting a gap of 181,993 seats if the system is able to absorb all the 472,730 BECE candidates projected to continue to Senior High School.

•This is from the 521,710 candidates that registered and sat for the BECE in 2018. Even with this huge number, it is projected that about 24,880 will not be enrolled as compared to the 2017 figure of 62,453 (MoE, 2018).

•The situation has necessitated the proposal to adopt a double-‐‑track school calendar as opposed to the single-‐‑track system used over the years.

•This is Another option to accommodate the increasing level of enrolment might be the introduction of the shift system.

1. What is Multi-track (Double Track)? – A multi-track (double track) school calendar is an innovative way to change the instructional and vacation sequencing of the school year as a way to increase a schools existing capacity and to allow more students to gain access to desirable schools. This also means a school is able to make continual use of its facilities over a calendar year by rotating students on separate tracks.

2. Why is it employed? – The Multi-track (double track) is uses as a way to allow more students to gain access into a school that the school can usually accommodate at any one time. In our case, we are employing it as a way to provide more access into the highly desirable schools which will increase graduation rate and university admissions rate. It will also allow for schools with academic performance challenges to focus on improving student outcomes.

3. What are the benefits?
• Increase contact hours (Teaching hours)
• Create room in existing schools to accommodate more students
• Increase teacher vacation periods
• Reduce congestion in classrooms

4. Which countries have adopted it & how did it fare there?
•Japan,USA,China,Australia,Brazil,France,Kenya,Costa.

5. Why has GES decided to go Multi-track? – GES is going to the semester system which has allowed them to adopt the multi-track (double track) school calendar in some of the senior high schools.

6. When does sit start? – 2018/2019 academic year

7. Won’t it reduce contact hours? – NO. The multi-track Semester system will actually increase the annual contact. In the three terms system, the contact hours is 1,080, in the semester system 1,134 contact hours.

8. How do I know which track my ward belongs to? – The CSSPS will assign a student the following: Track,Time table,Dates of opening and closing, contact of track heads.

9. Couldn’t the old shift system achieve the same objectives? – It will not be possible to do a shift system in boarding schools. In Ghana, over 60% percent of our secondary schools are boarding making it difficult to do the daily shift system.

10. How about aggressively expanding infrastructure? – Even if we have all of the money, we cannot build quick enough to meet the September intake. However, it is important to note that there is an aggressive effort to also increase infrastructure.

11. How about using a forced cut-off grade? – To create an arbitrary cut-off even when students pass means preventing students from attaining their educational potential. The goal is to ensure that no child who qualifies for SHS is left behind.

12. Will the entire SHS start at a go? – All students complete their curriculum within the academic year.

13. Will the Double Track be implemented with the existing teacher population? NO. the Ghana Education Service will recruit about 9000 teachers on to the GES payroll.

14. Will the calendar need the appointment of headmasters for each track

15. Each of the intakes will have a Track Head who will assist the school head in ensuring teaching and learning is high quality.

openghana.com

Kwame Asare

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