The Ghana Education Service, GES, has indicated that the newly-introduced semester-based academic calendar for public Kindergarten, Primary, and Junior High Schools was meant to stop teacher absenteeism.
Speaking to Bernard Avle on the Citi Breakfast Show, the Deputy Director-General for Quality and Access of the Ghana Education Service, Dr Kwabena Tandoh, said the system will help ease pressure on teachers, decongest the various schools, and help align academic calendars.
“We know based on research that one of the causes of classroom absenteeism among teachers in the various schools was because some teachers sought to upgrade themselves. This is because the three-term system in the basic schools overlaps with the university system. Gradually, we are getting to the point where we can align. We are giving teachers the time, by aligning their system with the university systems to upgrade if need be.”
“Recent research in Greater Accra showed that because primary schools had a different calendar from the Junior High Schools, parents could not align. Research also showed that because the primary school children had a different timetable from the Junior High Schools when the latter was in session, attendance went down by 11%.”
He also noted that the basic school students, per the new arrangements, will spend 40 out of the 52 weeks in a year in the classroom
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“When we were doing the term system, they were in school between 13 and 15 weeks per term. In this system, they will only be in school for not more than 10 weeks per time. This initial one is only because we are trying to align the timetables.”
“The mid-semester breaks, if we add the weekends will be 10 days per semester. In all, they will be in school for 20 weeks a semester and 40 weeks per year,” he added.
Additionally, he believes the semester system will go a long way to relieve busy parents or guardians of the pressure of juggling between work and parenting.
He further indicated that the semester system in the basic schools is “here to stay.”
“It is the new normal. We are not just introducing it to align the timetables at the various levels.”
Basic school calendar
Second and third-year students in second-cycle schools will be heading back to school on February 7, 2022.
According to a Ghana Education Service release, the first years have a tentative reopening date of April 4, 2022.
All students in basic schools will return to school on January 18.
The delays in releasing the reopening date had caused concern among stakeholders because private schools had begun their academic work.
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