Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum

The Minority Group in Parliament has called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Education to withdraw the 2022 academic year calendar which stipulates a permanent semester system for basic and secondary level institutions.

According to the Minority, the semester calendar “lacks professional touch.” They therefore called for a more “academically friendly and healthy one.”

In a statement signed by Ranking Member on Parliament’s Education Committee, Peter Nortsu-Kotoe, the Minority noted that it is the responsibility of the Ghana Education Service to fix the academic calendar for all pre-tertiary institutions in the country.

But recently, the Ministry of Education has acted “unprofessionally” by taking over the responsibility of the Ghana Education Service in the preparation of a common academic calendar by setting up a committee devoid of the expertise of GES.

“Why should the Ministry of Education take over the responsibility of the Ghana Education Service in the preparation of a common academic calendar? Is the Ministry of Education becoming the policy-making body and the implementer at the same time?” the Minority quizzed.

The Minority opined that the committee in its work, failed to consider the age of the learners for whom they have developed the calendar. They say this is because the current arrangement places both learners and teachers at risk.

“The age of the learners, it is noted, is not ready to absorb anything tangible after twelve long weeks in school. There is learner fatigue and absenteeism becomes the order of the day. We do not know if the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education conducted any studies into the effects of the semester system carried out in JHS in 2021. If they did, they would know that fatigue sets in and attendance suffers,” Mr Kotoe continued.

In view of this, the Minority is demanding the withdrawal of the 2022 academic calendar. It assured of its commitment to supporting the teacher unions in whatever democratic channel they will take to stop the semester system from being imposed on them.

This comes after some unions in the basic education sector called on the GES to immediately withdraw the new policy which changes the trimester to a semester-based academic calendar.

The Minority has further advised the Ghana Education Service to maintain its professional stance and “not allow the Minister of Education to dictate the pace for them.”

“This academic calendar is an importation which does not suit our Ghanaian educational environment,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Ranking Member on Parliament’s Education Committee has blamed government’s free SHS programme for the challenges being faced during the fixing of the academic calendar.

“Since the implementation of the Free Senior High School programme, the fixing of the academic calendar has become very difficult and problematic for the managers of our school system in the country. It got out of hand when the double track was introduced.

It got everybody confused in the country that no one at a point in time hardly tells when one track was in school or out of it. It brought inequalities in the senior high school system such that the tracks offered unequal numbers of weeks at school,” he added.



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