Ghana Politics

Gov’t must release policy document on semester-based academic calendar – Minority

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Peter Nortsu Kotoe

The Minority in Parliament is demanding the presentation of the policy document on the changes to the educational calendar to Parliament for scrutiny.

They have already made their intention known to summon the Minister for Education to the House when Parliament resumes from recess next week to provide the document to detail the motive behind the switch from a trimester-based academic calendar to a semester-based one.

The decision to switch to a semester system for the academic year has been met with opposition from teacher unions and some civil society groups for various reasons.

Speaking to Citi News, Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament, Peter Nortsu Kotoe maintained that the Minister must provide answers on the policy directive before Parliament.

“We find it expedient in the sense that this semester calendar thing is being rolled out is a major national policy on education and a policy of this nature, there should be a document on it. We want the minister to present the policy document to us and the rationale for rolling out the semester programme. We have the responsibility to ask the minister to explain so that if we have a number of questions we can put to him to answer,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Minority called on the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education to withdraw the new academic calendar “because it lacks professional touch for a more academic friendly and healthy one to be considered.”

The Minority feels the semester “is an importation which does not suit our Ghanaian educational environment.”

“As a Minority, we fully support the teacher unions in whatever democratic means they will take to stop this semester system being imposed on them,” it added.

Teacher Unions in the basic education sector have also kicked against the government’s change of the trimester-based academic calendar to a semester-based one.

The unions; GNAT, NAGRAT, TEWU, and CCT-GH in a joint statement said they are disappointed that for such a major decision, the government did not consult or engage them.

“We state emphatically that at no point in time were the Unions in Education consulted on such a major policy decision…Per our Collective Agreement with regard to our working conditions, major policies such as this should come for discussion and negotiation,” they said in the statement.

The unions said, among other things, that, such a move will lead to a long school calendar and will have a negative effect on the health of pupils and education workers.

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