A political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Asah-Asante, has asked the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Education Ministry to expedite stakeholder engagements on the controversial semester-based academic calendar for basic schools.

He says the attempt by the Ministry and GES to force the implementation of the new policy on teachers and relevant stakeholders will not elicit effective outcomes; hence, his call for a consensus-building on the matter.

Speaking on the AM Show on Wednesday, Dr. Asah-Asante observed that the new academic calendar has shortcomings which must be addressed immediately.

“It’s very unfortunate, to put it blankly. Why do you want to take a major policy decision without involving the stakeholders? This is a sorry story, to say the least. All these groups work for the common good of our children and the schools so whatever decision you take, you need to involve them.”

“GES, for this one, you need to go back to the drawing board and get the basics right. Involve the people, let them come out with professional advice [and] not any type of advice that somebody dreams of and want to implement,” he entreated.

The Centre for European Studies Director highlighted that the teacher-student contact hours are not academic friendly for pupils at the basic level of education.

According to him, children at the Kindergarten will suffer to cope with the 20-week semester system.

“I am even surprised to hear that you want to go for 20 weeks…where did they get that from? Even at the university, we run 13-week semester. Why do you want to engage kindergarten pupils for very long hours to study and all that?

“Why is it that the Ministry is sort of appropriating the whole process to itself and leaving all the stakeholders who are the movers and shakers of the process? I don’t get it. It takes two to tangle; you need all the stakeholders to be part of this process so that you make it a reality,” he stressed.

His comments are in reaction to a backlash from Teacher Unions who say they were not consulted before the changes were made.

They are calling for the immediate withdrawal of the semester system calendar as they contend it is not best for basic schools.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Education Service has announced it will meet the teacher unions on Thursday, January 20, 2022 to resolve their concerns.

In an interview with JoyNews, the Head of Public Affairs for the GES, Cassandra Twum Ampofo assured that the new system will not affect the amount of contact hours teachers have with students.

“I think we really need to continue our education for them to really understand and appreciate this particular semester,” she said.

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