From Francis Owusu-Ansah, Sunyani .
The much-talked about Double-Track system, designed to ease congestion in some Senior High Schools (SHSs), commenced smoothly in the various schools in the Brong-Ahafo Region, with both Sunyani Senior High School (SUSEC) and Odomaseman Senior High School reporting vacancies.
According to the two institutions, students posted to the schools are far less than their capacities.
The Chairman of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and Headmaster of SUSEC, Mr. Michael Nsiah Agyapong, however, cautioned fresh students to avoid tampering with their placement forms.
Mr. Nsiah gave the caution after the school’s authorities detected that two students who had gained admission to the school had tampered with their status from being day students to boarding.
Mr. Nsiah said even though SUSEC has about 1,620 students, the school has the capacity to admit more boarding students than the allocated number. According to Mr. Nsiah, as at 4pm on Monday, about 700 students had registered
In the Sunyani West District, The Chronicle was at the Odomaseman Senior High School, where the Headmaster, Mr. Joseph Abudu, appealed to the government to place more students in the school, because there were enough facilities to accommodate more students.
According to Mr. Abudu, the school has been given only 481 students under both the Green and Gold Tracks, but the school can accommodate as many as 850 students.
The Headmaster said the school’s administration has expanded existing facilities such as toilets, bathhouses and dormitories to absorb all qualified students posted to there. “Education is crucial to national development, and every effort must be made to allow our children access quality education,” he said.
The Chronicle also visited St James Seminary and Senior High School, and Twene Amanfo Technical and Senior High School, all in the Sunyani Municipality.
At the all-male St James Senior High School, the atmosphere was calm, as the first year students, anxious to taste a novelty system, went through the entry process.
Assistant Headmaster of the school, Mr. Daniel Yeboah Daniel Yeboah, beaming with smiles, told The Chronicle that before the advent of the free SHS, the school was admitting around 300 students every year, but with the introduction of the free SHS policy, the school now admits about 500.
Mr. Yeboah said the school was very prepared to receive all students under the Double Track system, beginning with the Green students.
Mr. Yeboah, however, could not give the exact number of students placed in the school because, according to him, the students were still accessing their placement forms online, which intermittently works slowly, but gave assurance that every qualified student who comes with a genuine placement form would be admitted.
The situation was similar at the Sunyani Senior High School and the Twene Amanfo Technical and Senior High School, where parents accompanied their wards to go through the registration formalities.
Health of students
The Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Prof Kwasi Opoku Amankwa, has directed that all first-year Senior High School (SHS) students should carry valid National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards. The students are also expected to carry along to school any immunisation card,
The directives are part of an initiative by the GES and Ghana Health Service (GHS) for all first year SHS students to go through a health screening programme, beginning this academic year.
Prof Amankwa explained that the rationale behind the screening exercise is aimed at identifying health problems early for effective management, to prevent any adverse effects on learning, and also promote a healthy lifestyle among the students.
He said the screening package includes medical history and general physical examination, vision assessment, hearing assessment, oral health screening, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), TB screening, nutrition assessment, and laboratory examination.
Professor Amankwa said the first round of screening, which began in December 2017 and ended in June 2018, covered 294,256 students from 671 SHSs, and appropriate referrals made for those who needed further attention.
Purpose of screening
“All SHS One students will be screened at designated facilities with trained personnel assigned to all schools by the GHS.” The purpose is to ensure early identification of health problems for prompt management, and to prevent transmission of communicable diseases,” Professor Amankwa explained.
He, therefore, asked to schools to ensure that the students went to those designated facilities to be screened as part of the requirements for admission.