The Africa Education Watch has called for broad consultation on the implementation of the new academic calendar by the Ministry of Education.
In a document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema, EduWatch said called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Education (MoE) to engage in broader consultation in taking such a decision.
They further cautioned that the culture of confusing information with consultation in the education sector must stop; “critical systemic decisions like permanently changing a three-term academic calendar system that predates independence should not be left for the GES and MoE committee that did not consult Parliament”.
The EduWatch document signed by Mr Kofi Asare, Executive Director academic think tank explained that the three years versus the four years Senior High School duration tango which affected the education system during the era of former President John Agyekum Kufuor’s administration and that of late President John Evans Atta-Mills era must be a reminder of the relevance of building broad stakeholder consensus on a key systemic decision.
They said that, even though they appreciate the need to harmonize the pre-tertiary calendar, the semester system cannot be used as a yardstick for harmonization since it was only an impromptu measure that had emerged out of the Double Track challenge the government was working to fix through various SHS infrastructural expansion interventions.
EduWatch said that there was no need to alter the traditional three-year term system since it was believed to have emerged with the double track and not back of any proven, unsurmountable challenges with the system and it was logical for the semester system to leave with the double track.
The GES on Friday, January 14, 2022, announced that all public basic schools will begin the 2022 academic year on January 18, 2022.
The first semester from KG to JHS will begin from January 18 until June 9, 2022, with a mid-semester break from April 12 to 18, 2022, while the second semester will begin from July 26, 2022, to December 16, 2022, to end the academic year.
However, there will be a mid-semester break from September 30 to October 9, 2022.
Also, all SHS Two and One students who are currently in school to write the end-of-second-semester examinations are expected to come home on January 28 and return to school on February 7 to begin the new academic year in new forms – SHS Three and Two, respectively.
Additionally, prospective SHS One students who are awaiting the release of their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) results by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) are expected to begin their first semester of the academic year on April 4, 2022.
GES said the ministry and the GES were making efforts at bringing the academic calendar back to normalcy, with the academic year beginning from September/October and ending in June/July.
GES announced that henceforth, all pre-tertiary schools would run a semester session like the SHSs, however, for basic schools from KG to JHS Three, their semesters will be in sessions.
According to GES, unlike SHSs, basic schools would have a short break in every semester, the idea was to ensure that both JHS students and basic school pupils vacated and reported to school together.