Consider charter system for public schools – Ayariga

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MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga

In light of the debate over secondary education, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga says it may be time for the state to cede control of public schools.

“It might be necessary to begin to consider even the whole concept of public management of schools. It is perfectly possible to begin to think about the charter system of school management,” Mr. Ayariga stated on The Big Issue.

A charter school receives government funding but operates independently of a conventional state school system.

The confirmation of the double-track system secondary education has been met with renewed calls for more engagement from persons within the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

“If we engage in dialogue, ideas will come up, we will build a national consensus and be able to galvanise the entire population,” Mr. Ayariga insisted.

Notably, Former President John Mahama has been calling for a national consultation to build consensus on a sustainable framework for the implementation of the Free SHS policy.

According to Mr. Mahama, the mode of implementation for the Free SHS on an ad-hoc basis is improper.

Mr. Mahama said the proposals made by the government to modify Senior High Education in the country through the double-track system should be subjected a  broad stakeholder consultation adding that it is not too late to revise the Free SHS policy.

Free SHS can’t be free for all

Mr. Ayariga also reiterated the assertion that the Free SHS needed to be targeted.

“We must get back to targeting and means testing and more complicated arrangements in terms of education financing and management.”

About the double track system

This new system will run in all the categories A and B senior high schools in the country.

The new programme creates a calendar of two semesters in a year for the SHS 1 class, containing 81 days per each semester and 41 days of vacation for a sandwich class.

Over 8,000 teachers are being recruited to handle the sandwich classes, so teachers are not be deprived of their holidays.

Under the new system, teaching hours are increased from six hours per day to eight hours per day.

Teaching hours are expected to increase from 1,080 hours per year under the current single-track system, to 1,134 hours per year under the proposed double-track system.

The new system is expected to cost GH₵323 million to implement fully.

What is a charter system?

A charter school is a school that receives government funding but operates independently of the established state school system

Charter schools are governed, not by a local board of education, but by an autonomous non-profit board of directors, and they receive flexibility from certain state and local rules and regulations in exchange for a higher level of accountability.

Charter schools use this flexibility to implement innovative or unique programs, in order to provide educational options to parents and students that are not typically available in the traditional public schools.

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citinewsroom.com/Ghana