Most Rev Titus Awotwe Pratt
The Methodist Church Ghana has commended the current government for the introduction of the double-track system in some senior high schools, which is aimed at making every qualified Ghanaian student get access to secondary education.
According to the church, the double-track policy would not destroy the educational system in the country contrary to some people’s perception.
Rather, it would help reduce class sizes, increase contact hours between teachers and students and the number of school holidays.
“Double-track is an intervention that allows schools to accommodate more students within the same facility; it has the potential to check overcrowding and bring about cost reduction”, the church maintained.
This was disclosed by Most Rev Titus Awotwe Pratt, Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church Ghana, at the official opening of the 10th biennial and 48th conference of the church held at the Wesley Methodist Cathedral at Sekondi yesterday.
The five-day conference which would also be used to elect a new presiding bishop for the church is on the theme “Go and make Disciples of All Nations: Intensifying Our Teaching Ministry Towards Disciple making”.
The introduction of free senior high school (SHS) policy has increased enrollment in senior high schools in the country.
The policy offers students, whose parents and guardians cannot afford school fees and who would have been compelled to sit at home, some respite and opportunity to further their education.
The free SHS initiative has come with its own challenges of inadequate infrastructure such as classrooms, dormitories and teaching and learning materials.
In spite of the existing infrastructural deficits, the government has resolved to make sure that no qualified Ghanaian child is left behind hence the introduction of the double-track school calendar, which will be implemented in September 2018 for some senior high schools in the country.
According to the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church, the double- track system was a crash programme that had been introduced to serve a burning challenge; he called on all Ghanaians to support it to succeed.
“If all of us will put our hands on the plough and pray for its success, the better for our nation. Those who are criticizing the system have the right to do so but they should offer constructive and objective criticisms”, he added.
He continued “SHS was four years and it became three years because the government of the day saw the need at that time to make it so and we all supported it”.
He mentioned that the double-track intervention was to cover all school going children and the programme was to solve a disturbing situation.
The presiding bishop called on government to prosecute and jail all corrupt officials in Ghana as part of measures to help deal with the corruption canker.
“If those who are stealing public funds are not prosecuted and imprisoned, corruption will never end. Once this is done people will sit up and corruption might end”, he opined.
He gave the assurance that the Methodist Church would sensitize its members in-house to make sure that they had the moral obligation to demand the prosecution of corrupt Ghanaian officials who rob the country of millions of cedis every year through their nefarious activities.
On the issue of illegal mining, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church commended the government for the measures put in place to end illegal mining activities in the country.
“We are not against people making a living but we are against people destroying the environment and our water bodies”, he pointed out.
He indicated that the church was not against the lifting of the ban on small-scale mining but stressed that there should be stringent measures to ensure that the environment was protected.
Commenting on the issue of whether or not churches should pay tax, the presiding bishop indicated that some orthodox churches were already contributing immensely towards the development of the nation in the areas of education and health, among others.
“So we are already contributing our quota and I don’t think there is the need for such churches to pay tax”, he declared.
The Western Regional Minister, Dr Kweku Afriyie, gave the assurance that government would continue to create the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and create more jobs, adding “the government’s ‘One District, One Factory’ programme, for instance, should be championed by the private sector as the government creates the conducive environment and helps to address some of their challenges”.
He then charged Christians to go all out and preach the gospel to all people particularly the youth and instill the fear of God in them to enable them live godly lives.
The Bishop of the Wesley Methodist Cathedral at Sekondi, Rt Rev. Daniel De-Graft Brace, admonished Christians to be serious with their Bible teachings and be determined to cause a positive change in their respective areas with their lifestyles.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Sekondi