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August 1, 2018 | Feature Article

Double Track System Is A "Do Or Die" Intervention For Ghana

Double Track System Is A

This is a detailed article on the Double Track System of which it touches on eight (8) different subtopics of which most of the ongoing public debates surround.

They are;
1) Double Track System Against The Shift System And Single Track System

2) Why Is Government Currently Choosing Double Track System Over Single Track and Shift System?

3) Will The Proposed Double Track System Breed Truancy?

4) Is The Double Track System Currently Necessary?
5) Will The Double Track System Be Implemented In All SHS In The Country?

6) How Will A Student Know He/She Is Part Of A Double Track System?

7) Will The Double Track Improve Or Reduce Quality Of Education?

8) Has The Government Any Plans to Revert To The Single Track System In The Future?

Below is the detailed analysis under each of the above subtopics.

1) Double Track System Against The Shift System And Single Track System

A) A Shift System
A Shift System is an educational intervention to help control congestion in a school through the division of the respective classes in a school into batches where the respective batches respectively attend school at a specific time in a day, but where all the respective batches go on vacation on the same day and for the same period.

Summary
Both batches;
i) go to school on same day, but at different times

ii) go on vacation for the same period and at the same time

iii) use the same facilities in a school for learning

iv) enjoy the same number of hours and days of learning and vacation.

An example of a Shift System is what used to be practiced in our Ghana's Public Basic schools where one batch of a class of the respective classes in a school went to school from 7:30 am to 12:00 pm (Morning Section) and the other went from 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm (Afternoon Section). And all batches went on vacation on the same day, and for the same period.

B) Double Track System
A Double Track System is an educational intervention to help control congestion, where while one batch of a school is on vacation, another batch is in school learning and vice versa; on a rotational basis for the two (2) batches.

Summary
i) Both batches have different periods for learning and vacation

ii) Their respective periods for learning are not on the same day

iii) They both use the same facilities in a school for learning; while one batch is on vacation, another is in school learning

iv) They both enjoy the same number of hours and days of learning and vacation.

A similar example of a double track system is what we observe on some of our university campuses in terms of regular/distance and sandwich students, where while the regular students are in school, the sandwich students are on vacation and vice versa, just that with the double track system, the two tracks both enjoy the same number of days for learning and same number of days for vacation.

C) Single Track System
All students in a school enjoy learning at the same period and vacation at the same period. There are no divisions.

An example is what we have been experiencing in our Senior High Schools (SHS) over the years.

2) Why Is Government Currently Choosing Double Track System Over Single Track and Shift System?

It is basically because of congestion; because from 2013 to 2016, the first year students' entry into SHS have always fallen between 261,598 and 308,799, but in 2018, it is estimated to likely rise sharply to 472,730 or more, a likely increase of about 163,961 or more. Also from 2014 to 2016, after the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) students are placed into the respective SHS, it was found out that an estimated number of between 100,000 and 120,000 always don't get themselves enrolled/turn up in the respective schools they are placed, but in 2017, only 60,000 didn't turn up, and it is estimated that it is likely to further reduce to 24,880 in 2018 as the number likely not to turn up after their placement by the Computer Placement System/Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).

Despite the increase in Senior High School (SHS) educational facilities by the Government in 2017 through the provision of 9,400 mono desks, 33,171 Dining Hall furniture, 4,335 student mattresses, 5,135 computer laboratory chairs, it will still be impossible to use the Single Track System to manage the SHS educational system because of the smaller number of facilities as compared to that of the would be SHS students' population in 2018.

The shift System is also not conducive because of the boarding system of the SHS taking a larger percentage of its population. The boarding system takes about 60% of the population of the SHS System and since the current boarding facilities are not enough, it can not house all the current students who would be given the boarding status for a batch of it to go in the morning and another batch to go in the afternoon.

3) Will The Proposed Double Track System Breed Truancy?

It will not because it hadn't resulted in truancy in countries like Kenya, USA, France and others who are using it.

Moreover, it will not result in truancy because despite most private basic schools have different academic calendars among themselves and also from the public schools which sometimes result in most of them having different vacations periods, it has still not prevented these students of the private schools from attending school regularly.

Again, despite the Training Colleges, Polytechnics, Technical Universities and Universities respectively having different academic calendars such that while one is on vacation, another will be in school, it has still not bred truancy among the students of the respective institutions.

Further more, it will not result in truancy because due to awareness creation through public education and public knowledge of facts such as; without an SHS education with a good pass, it is difficult for any to get into any of the tertiary, security service institutions and also into countries such USA, Canada and others, the appetite for SHS education coupled with a good pass has become an urgency for most youth, a reason why the number of Junior High School (JHS) students who partook in the BECE in 2013 has increased from 391,032 in that year to 521,710 in 2018. A clear increase of about 130,678. Also by comparing years with their respective preceding years from 2013 to 2016, it will be found that the BECE candidates yearly increased by between 17,000 to 30,000, but with the comparison of that of 2017 and 2018, it will be known that it increased by 53,650.

4) Is The Double Track System Currently Necessary?
It is currently very necessary, and the best intervention to employ to help avoid denying an estimated number of 220,000 an access to SHS education yearly. 220,000 is a population of some districts and countries. After the 2010 population census, Suaman in the Western region and Banda in the Brong Ahafo region respectively recorded populations between 20,282 and 20,529. Also countries such as São Tomé and Principe, Samoa and Tonga respectively have populations between 109,008 and 208,818.

And if the nation intends to deny such a large number of youth an access to SHS yearly until all the facilities and infrastructures are provided to accommodate them which by estimate will be about ten (10) or more years, it means the country would have denied more than 2 million Ghanaian youth an access to education of which has a huge bad consequence to both themselves and the country. Note, 2 million plus is the population of some countries in the world; the likes of Gabon, Trinidad and Tobago, Equitorial Guinea and Cyprus respectively have populations between 1,189,085 and 2,067,561.

5) Will The Double Track System Be Implemented In All SHS In The Country?

It will not be implemented in all Senior High Schools in the country, it will only be implemented in most of the category A and B schools.

6) How Will A Student Know He/She Is Part Of A Double Track System?

The Computer Placement System/CSSPS will alert students whether they have been placed part of the Double Track System or not, and the track he/she has been placed in if a student is placed in a Double Track System.

7) Will The Double Track Improve Or Reduce Quality Of Education?

For quality education to be achieved, it is dependent on some factors such as Number of Contact Hours, Teacher Motivation, Teacher Per Students Ratio, Class Size, Learning and Teaching Materials, Students Per Facilities Ratio, Right Facilities, Food for Students and others. With the Double Track System coupled with the Free Shs (FSHS) policy, government has put in place the following;

i) Teachers will be duly motivated with additional allowance

ii) More teachers will be recruited
iii) Provision of free learning materials to students such as text and exercise books.

iv) Provision of free school uniforms to students
v) Provision of free meal to students
vi) Free tuition fees for students
vii) An increase in the contact hours for learning
viii) A reduced class size
ix) A reduced number of students in the dormitory
x) An Increased learning facilities
xi) An increase in the use of E-Learning equipments and facilities

Since all these eleven and other conditions provided by government fall in line with the factors that can help bring about quality education, it points to a fact that, the Double Track System is likely to provide quality students before its conversion back to the Single Track System in the future.

Also, all the countries that have implemented it have been successful through their respective reward with quality education.

8) Has The Government Any Plans to Revert To The Single Track System In The Future?

The government is only using the Double Track System as a short term intervention for the absorption of the excess(large increase) who also want to enroll in the various SHS across the country of which it is currently estimated to be 180,000 but would have amounted to about 560,000 in three years time when this year group will be in their final year. Therefore, the government has in its plans to revert to the Single Track System in the future which has been estimated to be seven (7) years, has made proposals to build more schools, increase the infrastructures in all schools and has secured funding for the expansion of 42 SHS into model schools.

Thank you
Hhhmm, may God be praised always
Nana Kwadwo Akwaa
Member, Critical Thinkers International (CTI)

Nana Kwadwo Akwaa
Nana Kwadwo Akwaa

The author has authored 39 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author's column: NanaKwadwoAkwaa

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Nana Kwadwo Akwaa and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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