Professor Gyan Baffour
The Akufo-Addo government is seriously considering extending the length of secondary education to four years again after the previous New Patriotic Party government did same in 2007, but it was reversed by an NDC administration.
The Minister of Planning, Professor Gyan Baffour on Wednesday revealed that government is monitoring the three-year SHS system to inform a possible review to back to four years.
The NPP administration under President John Kufuor introduced the 4-year Senior High School programme in 2007. However, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) reverted to the 3-year system after it regained power in 2009.
Speaking at the launch of the Ghana Social Development Outlook 2016 at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, Prof. Gyan Baffour noted that, the limited time allotted for secondary education inhibited a thorough treatment of the syllabus.
The first cause of action for the government is to assess how effective the three years is being used.
The Minster noted that, the three years under the current system, is effectively about two-and-a-half-years, so the government will look “to make sure that this ‘three years’ [actually] becomes almost three years.”
“The time lost, we have to make it up. That is the first thing that we are trying to do now, and based on that, we can now use the analysis that they do after that time, to see what the public thinks and to decide on whether we move for three years or four years.”
This assessment will find out whether if they are given enough time within the three-year period, the students will do better than they have been doing with the two-and-half-year period.
Cost won’t be a problem
The government is already implementing its major educational reform with the free SHS policy, and Prof. Baffour reminded that these interventions in secondary education are to make sure that money is not an obstruction to parents and their wards.
Thus if a change to four years is deemed necessary, then money will not be considered a problem, in line with providing quality education, in addition to the free education.
He further suggested that public opinion could play a part in whether the change in duration happens.
“…If it is found out the four years is better than three years in training our children, then money should not be the basis in denying them that four years… It is not only access, but it also includes quality, and if it is four years that will give them quality and that is what the people want, so be it.”