The President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Angel Carbonu, says the government must urgently engage all stakeholders in education including civil society organizations, over the change of the trimester-based academic calendar to the semester-based one.
He said the semester-based calendar, as announced by the Ghana Education Service, will lead to serious challenges in the basic education sector.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Mr. Carbonu contended that no teacher union was engaged on the development.
He said the system planned to be rolled out plans.was put in place as a temporary measure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the double-track system, and as such, if there are plans to make it permanent, stakeholder discussions must be had.
“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 Ghana Education Service last week announced the introduction of a semester-based academic calendar for public Kindergarten, Primary, and Junior High Schools.
Among other things, GES said, the new system will help ease pressure on teachers, decongest the various schools, and help align academic calendars.
Teacher Unions in the basic education sector such as GNAT, NAGRAT, TEWU, and 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.