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Semester system is draining; let’s restore the trimester – Concerned teachers to Education Ministry

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The Coalition of Concerned Teachers, CCT, wants the Ministry of Education to allow Junior High Schools (JHS) to go back to the trimester system.

The trimester system has three terms for teaching and learning.

Currently, all public Junior High Schools are on a semester-based system, which is made up of only two terms.

The system was adopted by the Ghana Education Service (GES) as a means to recover from the 2020 academic year, disrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Arguing out the Coalition’s case, the President, King Ali Awudu, said the system is too draining on both the teachers and the students, which can affect teaching and learning.

“We all agree that the semester system was adopted by GES as a means to recover from the 2020 academic year disrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. That notwithstanding, teachers have done their best to risk their lives to go to school and teach under these risky conditions, as most of the basic schools are unable to practice the social distancing recommendation by the Ghana Health Service.”

According to him, teachers have expressed worry about the number of days spent in the semester system, as JHS students and teachers spend over twenty weeks in a school in a semester.

“A visit to some of our schools confirmed the lack of concentration by the students and the stress they are going through. We believe GES is very much aware of this situation. We wish to call for the return of the Trimester system to at least give enough rest time for the students since concentration is key in teaching and learning and also for the instructors to have adequate time to research, teach well and assess the pupils.”

Following President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo‘s directive on Sunday, January 3, 2021, that Ghanaian students at all levels of education return to school as part of the government’s strategic efforts to ease the COVID-19 induced restrictions on educational activities, the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa introduced some measures to capture the time lost while students stayed at home.

Speaking at a press briefing on the measures put in place for the reopening of schools held by the Ministry of Education, Professor Opoku-Amankwa said, “JHS will be running semester programs this time around. We will make sure that the basic protocols are observed. We will provide reusable face masks. Schools will not be available for outside activities.”

He added that pupils in Kindergarten and primary schools will, however, continue with their trimester system.

On Senior High School education, Prof. Opoku-Amankwa indicated that “we have prepared the calendar to capture the time lost while the students stayed at home. We now have what is called the all-year-round calendar. It starts from January to December. We expect that examinations will be written between September and October, after which the year will end. There will be a double-track for the second year. As the president indicated, we are phasing out the system.”

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