An advocacy organisation, Africa Education Watch, has opposed the permanent semester system proposed by the Ghana Educations Service (GES) for basic and secondary schools saying there is no need to alter the traditional 3-year term system.
According to them, “the semester system emerged with the Double Track, and not on the back of any proven, unsurmountable challenges with the 3- term system. On this basis, it is only logical that the semester system leaves along with the Double Track”.
Africa Education Watch in a statement refuted claims that its Executive Director, Kofi Asare, was consulted by GES and the Ministry of Education (MOE) before arriving at such a decision.
“Like all other citizens, we were only informed through GES’s Facebook page. The culture of confusing information with consultation in the education sector must end”, the statement read.
EduWatch’s statement follows a comment made by a Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Dr. Kwabena Bempah Tandoh on Monday 17th January’s edition of the Citi FM Breakfast Show to the effect that, Eduwatch was consulted by the GES in the decision to make the semester system permanent, per the new academic year calendar in Ghana’s basic and secondary schools.
In opposing the semester system, Eduwatch stated that “critical systemic decisions like permanently changing a 3-term academic calendar system that predates independence should not be left for a GES/MoE Committee that did not even consult the Parliament. The lessons from the 3- year Vs 4-year SHS duration tango which affected our education system during the Kufuor-Mills era must remind us of the relevance of building broad stakeholder consensus on such key systemic decisions”.
It added that “while we appreciate the need to harmonize the pre-tertiary calendar, the semester system cannot be used as the yardstick for harmonization since it is only an ad-hoc measure that emerged out of a Double Track challenge the government has been working to fix through various SHS infrastructural expansion interventions”.
Africa Education Watch believes that with about 80% of such projects completed, one can only expect that once SHSs return to Single Track, possibly by next year, the education system shall revert to the traditional 3-term pre-tertiary calendar.
Deputy Director-General for Quality and Access of the Ghana Education Service, Dr. Kwabena Tandoh, had earlier said in an interview that the semester system has come to stay as it helps decongets schools and lessens the burden on teachers.
However, Angel Carbonu has called on government engage stakeholders in education and CSOs on the subject.