The government has made available GH¢55,278,500 to provide incentives for teachers to offer extra tuition to all senior high school (SHS) students after the normal class hours.
The amount, which is made up of an annual intervention grant of GH¢50 per student, is part of the government’s effort to replace the extra classes fees hitherto paid by parents.
The payment of extra classes fees does not provide the opportunity for acceleration or remediation for students who cannot afford to pay.
Furthermore, the provision of incentives for teachers is an essential element of the free SHS policy, which seeks to improve access to quality and equity education.
In an interview yesterday on the intervention grant and what it seeks to achieve, the Deputy Education Minister in charge of General Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, said the amount would cater for the extra classes of 1,105,570 students.
He explained that the overall objective of the intervention was to ensure that learning outcomes improved overall through the development of an effective academic remedial programme for all students.
Dr. Adutwum said under the double-track semester system, instructional hours had been extended to 1,134, compared to the 1,080 under the previous trimester calendar.
Annual intervention grant
He said the amount covered all students, “whether they are in Form One, Two or Three”, explaining that the current Form Three students were benefiting from the intervention grant as they prepared to write their final examination, which would begin in April this year.
Dr. Adutwum further explained that instead of using it for the weekends or after normal class hours, the Form Three students were using theirs during their vacation, so that parents would not have to pay for their stay in school during the vacation to prepare for their final examination.
He said the allocation for Form Two students was available and that as soon as they resumed school in March this year, “they will be given something extra”.
“This is the first time the government has given money for intervention so that every student can get extra classes for free, something that parents used to pay for.
“So if you are a parent, why panic and talk about vacation classes when we are already giving you more?” he asked while admitting that some people were exploiting the situation to organise vacation classes, which he said had been the practice over the years.
Dr Adutwum insisted that vacation classes were not mandatory and that it was the will of parents who wanted their children to be ahead of the curve who asked the children to attend the classes.
He said the government had not sanctioned any vacation classes, saying that if there were any such classes, their organisation was purely between parents and individuals, stressing that no school running the double-track system was supposed to organise any vacation classes.
“As we speak, we have no school, as far as we are concerned, where vacation classes are going on because they know they cannot,” he stated and challenged anyone to provide the name of such a school, especially where the double track was being operated.
Dr Adutwum said Form Two students had been in school for four continuous months and should be allowed to refresh themselves before schools reopened on March 1, 2019, instead of pushing them into vacation classes.
He stated that some psychologists had even suggested that loading the students with extra classes during vacation and not allowing them to rest and be refreshed before school reopened was not good for their brains “because the brain needs to rest”.
Form Three teachers
Asked whether the vacation classes which the current Form Three students were attending were compulsory for teachers, Dr Adutwum said although they were not compulsory, teachers were encouraged to attend, except that they constituted an emergency.
He gave an assurance that the ministry was committed to the vision of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of making education the single most important thing that would lead to the socio-economic transformation of Ghana.
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