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16.02.2010 Editorial

Accra Metropolitan Assembly shows the way

Accra Metropolitan Assembly shows the way
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The Daily Graphic of yesterday reported that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has launched an education fund to raise GH¢6 million from corporate institutions and individuals, to build more classroom blocks towards achieving the abolishment of the shift system in public schools within the metropolis.

This initiative is in the wake of the resolve of the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to abolish the shift system currently being run in basic schools in the country.

The Minister of Education, Mr. Alex Tetteh-Enyo, late last year, announced that though the shift system had been in operation for more that 10 years, it had not been beneficial to the nation, and therefore the need for its elimination, once infrastructure and other facilities were put in place.

The shift system was introduced as a result of inadequate classrooms and other facilities, against the backdrop of increasing attendance by pupils, which made some schools adopt the system to be able to cope with the situation.

Basic education means ensuring that all children have access to good quality education in a healthy, protective, and conducive, physical and psychological environment, for effective response to teaching and learning, to achieve their own potentials and general education goals.

However, the introduction of the shift system resulted in the creation of unequal access to education, and disparities for children caught in the unfortunate web. Under the shift system, two classes use the same classroom by alternating it in morning and afternoon sessions.

Pupils in the shift system are said to benefit only four hours, instead of the standard eight hours of daily school work.

The pupils are also deprived of extra class hours, and engage in co-curricular activities.

The system became so abused by the pupils, that there were times when they escaped classes and found ways of tricking people, by saying they were in the afternoon session, when you see them in the morning, and vice versa.

The startling statistics revealed by the AMA boss, Mr. Alfred Vanderpuije, through the Daily Graphic, should stir the government into taking positive action to eliminate the shift system.

According to the chilling figures, out of 170,000 pupils in the Accra metropolis, only 89,000 get access to classrooms at a time.

The remaining 71,000 pupils are compelled, by circumstances of lack of classroom blocks and furniture, to fall prey to the shift system.

The Chronicle is gladdened by the fact that the AMA has given itself a timeline of end of September this year to completely abolish the shift system in the Accra metropolis.

But the question begging to be answered, is that what happens to this noble initiative of the AMA, if they are unable to achieve the target of GH¢6 million towards the eradication of the shift system.

This is a fund to be generated at the benevolence of corporate institutions and individuals, and there is therefore the possibility that the target might not be realised.

We are therefore appealing to the government to live up to its promise, through the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, to abolish the shift system.

The AMA has taken a bold step, and the government must walk the talk by ensuring that the fund realises its goals and objectives.

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