The government has been advised by the President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) Mr. Angel Carbonu to immediately engage stakeholders and also civil society organizations on the change of the academic calendar from the trimester based one to a semester-based one.
He complained that such a change which was communicated by the Ghana Education Service will lead to serious challenges in the basic education sector.
He explained that the system rolled out was put in place as a temporary measure due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the double-track system, and right now, if there are plans to now make this system permanent, there is the need to have stakeholder discussions.
“There must be broader consultations. We are talking about the education unions, CSOs, parents, larger society and people in academia being given the opportunity to look at whether trimester in the basic education level is better,” he said.
“The semester system was brought in to address a problem, and now we are realizing that it has become a permanent policy. We are hearing that it is a cabinet decision, and we are asking where the policy document to accompany the semester system is. There are very serious implications if we make it permanent. When the nation is changing from a trimester to semester, we need wide consultation and negotiations with the unions, and we take a common decision,” he added.
The introduction of a semester-based academic calendar for public Kindergarten, Primary, and Junior High Schools was announced by the Ghana Education Service.
In giving the reasons for introducing this new academic calendar, the GES said the new system will help ease pressure on teachers, decongest the various schools, and help align academic calendars.
However, Teacher Unions in the basic education sector such as the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers NAGRAT, Teachers and Education Workers Union (TEWU), and Concerned Teachers Ghana( CCT-GH) have all kicked against the move and vowed to fiercely resist it if the government fails to withdraw it.
“There are labour implications. We also have issues to do with teacher-learning instructions taking the ages of the children and their level, whether the semester system is more beneficial than the trimester,” Mr. Carbonu added.