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Opinions of Sunday, 16 September 2018

Columnist: Betty Atiede Mensah

BettyBlueMenz perspectives, double-track system ay3 pinsoo!

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As the double track system takes off across selected senior high schools in the country, some parents are still unsure which school their wards will be attending, while other parents of first year students for the fresh double track system are still pushing to secure placement in the first (green) track for their ward.

Parents whose wards have been enrolled, I must say, are lucky because some parents were left stranded at the WAEC office as they were unable to purchase the placement card, others even had challenges in accessing the website due to some technical difficulties.

Getting one's ward a place in a school has been so difficult that in the Brong Ahafo Region, some parents were reprimanded for falsifying admission documents just to make sure their wards secured places in the boarding house.

It even gets scarier as some individuals, who call themselves agents pretending to give admission at a fee, take advantage of these desperate parents.

It was generally a chaotic first day in many senior high schools as parents thronged the various campuses for placement.

While some schools are overwhelmed by the numbers, headmaster of Tuobodom SHS, Charles Agyapong bemoaned the small number of students posted to his school.

Meanwhile, over 800 fresh students placed by the computerized system to the Islamic Girls’ Senior High at Suhum in the Eastern Region, have all been given day option even though the school has boarding facilities.

Despite several attempts by parents to get boarding status for their ward, school authorities say they cannot do much about the situation.

Some are simply against the double track system, where senior high schools would be practicing semester system as against the long-standing trimester system we have all known.

The semester has been divided into 2 tracks. The first track is called the Green Track and the second is the Gold Track. For each semester, the green track will be in school for 41, go on break for 41, during which the gold track will also be in school.

Some parents have argued that the double track system is a good thing but they fear the children would be put under so much pressure to finish a trimester course in two semesters.

Now here is a BettyBlueMenz Perspective: admission to SHS has been a big challenge for a long time. During my SHS days, I had to check for my school placement three times before I could finally find where I had been placed.

The frustration that came with it could make you lose your mind. There was pressure from my mum as she became very worried and scared I was not going to school that year.

Most of my friends had checked and the excitement that came after checking made me more frustrated because I could not imagine myself sitting home while my friends were in school learning.

My friends kept encouraging me not to lose hope but keep trying because they believed the network was jammed as other people were also in a hurry to check.

On the third day, I checked and found I got the school of my choice. I was happy, but since the school was in Accra it was automatic that I was going to be a day student and that made me sad because I wanted to have the feel of staying in the boarding house.

I can understand the worries of those parents who falsify admission forms so their wards would get access to the boarding house. For one, it makes economic sense for your child to be in the boarding house because it saves the parent from exorbitant rent and transportation cost for the child. I really gave my mum a lot pressure to get me a place in the boarding house. It was really hectic for her but she managed to get me a place in the boarding house and also the best house on campus.

With the current school placement, some students I spoke to are unhappy with their placement because most of them got admission outside Accra and according to them, they cannot be day students, firstly because of the distance, and secondly because there is simply no money to rent hostel accommodation for them. Some were just livid because their dream of experiencing boarding house life has been cut short.

I am a single-track-trimester-system person so I don't know how a double-track-semester-system will impact learning. Like many other , I can only wait and see how this new system will pan out.

But I have heard the critics say we don't have enough teachers to run the system, while government also says provision has been made already and every school is sorted. Every school sorted, the claim, yet there is inadequate boarding facilities o accommodate the students and some parents are still struggling to know the fate of their wards.

There may be something good about the double-track-semester system, but from a lay woman's point of view, I am thinking, if even with the trimester, schools struggle to cover the whole syllabus, how much more just two semesters?

God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong as the double track system has taken off

I rest my case here…