What Happens to the Remaining Shift Schools- Hon. Minister of Education?
The effort of your ministry in transforming the face of Education across all levels is worth acknowledging. The most applaudable of all is your interventions when it comes to promoting learner reading proficiency in our Public Primary Schools, through donor agencies. Bravo!
Nonetheless, there is a public outcry on the subject of scrapping the remaining Shift Schools in our cities. Has this come to your attention? Permit me to say it deafeningly.
A school child attending school synchronously at any level of Education and sharing the same classroom with another school child at different time schedules is what is referred to as a Shift School System in Ghana.
Whiles others go to school early in the morning and their school day ends in the afternoon, this is at variance with a shift system. Learners on a shift, go to school in the morning and come back in the afternoon. The second shift goes in the afternoon and closes late in the evening.
The Shift System was made known as a stop-gap measure to contain the ever-increasing enrolment, upon the introduction of the Free Compulsory Universal Basic Education into the Ghanaian Educational System aeras ago. Wow! would it not be admirable if every Ghanaian Minister’s child enjoys this package too? Yes, it would.
Irrespective of the fact that it caved the way for all school aged children to have absolute access to Basic Education amidst the limited space in our classrooms, the system needs to be scrapped. Honourable, don’t you think that we have come far to put behind this hurdle as a country?
Reasons for the Scrap
- Incontestably, the Shift System does not only build stress among learners and teachers as a health monster, but it does not also augment effective teaching and learning in such schools. Everything seems to be done in a rush in Shift Schools. Unlike a Straight Day School, the time available is restricted.
- Honourable Minister, do you know that facilitators in Shift Schools continue to struggle to cover the various strands within the curricula? Have we forgotten that students in Shift Schools write the same examination as those in Straight Day Schools? I see this as a scorn and not a means to reduce cost as the economic expert may project.
- The challenge that drills deeper into the crania of school principals is the high cost of maintenance: all because of excessive pressure on the limited school facilities associated with non-appreciable academic performance.
- At the blind side of guardians, learners are exposed to deviant behaviors such as weed smoking, alcoholism, and child prostitution to mention but a few. Honourable, may I hasten to ask: what is the crime level of these students and pupils? Should we get the legislators to intervene?
On behalf of the affected learners and teachers, I plead with you to take a tour of all Shift Schools in our cities to ascertain the actuals. Also, the GetFund projects that were abandoned for decades should be completed to make room for Straight Day Schools.
Finally, communities without schools should be provided with one. This would bridge the ‘access’ gap and consequently lessen the pressure on already existing facilities.
I humbly call on the parliament of Ghana to formalize parents’ financial support in running our Public Basic Schools. This, would encourage stakeholders at the micro level to supplement the effort of the government in the building of Community Basic Schools.
Writer: WISDOM KOUDJO KLU, EDUCATIONIST/COLUMNIST, GREATER ACCRA REGION.