That, it said, was because the semester system was putting a lot of stress on school facilities, infrastructure, as well as staff and students.
“This should take place at the inception of the 2023 academic year,” a communique issued at the end of CHASS’s 60th annual conference/anniversary held in Koforidua in the Eastern Region said.
It was jointly signed by the President of CHASS, Alhaji Yakub Ahmad Bin Abubakar, and the Assistant Secretary, Baro Primus.
The change of the academic calendar from the trimester system to the semester system was done in 2018 to make room for the double-track system as part of the plans for the free SHS programme introduced to admit more qualified students.
However, after three years of free SHS, the double-track system was abandoned, while the semester system was maintained, and at any given time, two streams of students are in school to avoid congestion.
The calendar was further disrupted in 2020 following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic which forced the government to close down all schools.
To keep the academic calendar in sync, the Ministry of Education tried to introduce the semester system in pre-tertiary institutions as well, but it had to withdraw that plan following public outcry against it.
In January this year, the four teacher unions also waded in and called on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to withdraw the entire semester system at the pre-tertiary level for wider consultations with stakeholders before it was implemented.
The unions — the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Coalition of Concerned Teachers-Ghana (CCT-Gh) and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) — maintained that the unilateral change in the school calendar from the trimester system to the semester system to cover pupils at the primary and the kindergarten levels by the GES was arbitrary and an imposition on the major stakeholders in education, of which the unions were a part.
In reaction to the outcry, the Ministry of Education reinstated the trimester educational calendar for basic schools, made up of kindergarten, primary and junior high school (JHS).
The ministry explained that the reversal from the proposed semester calendar was to allow for further consultations on the issue.
“After further consultations on the issue, the Minister of Education has directed that the calendar for kindergarten to JHS for the current academic year should revert to the trimester system,” a statement issued by the Minister of Education said.
Apart from its proposal for the scrapping of the semester system, CHASS, among other things, asked the GES to, as a matter of urgency, make available the Code of Conduct for Students before the commencement of the 2023 academic year.
It said that had delayed unduly and was impacting effective discipline in SHSs.
Additionally, it said the GES must come clear on parent-teacher associations (PTAs), as the lack of clear directives on PTAs was impacting the effective relationship between PTAs and the schools.
“The PTAs are still not active in our schools. The government must come out with clear-cut directives on the activities of the PTAs to enable them to function effectively in all schools.
“This will also save heads the unfortunate queries and sanctions applied to them in their dealing with PTAs in their schools and the fact that many PTAs are now very dormant due to the unclear, unwritten moratorium placed on their activities since the inception of the free SHS policy,” it said, adding that “this emanates from the fact that the contributions and impact of PTAs in the development and smooth running of the schools cannot be underestimated, overemphasised or swept under the carpet”.
Furthermore, the communique urged the government to reconsider bringing back the incentive (motivation) package paid to staff of schools which had ceased for two years now.
The payment of that package, it said, formed part of the absorbed fees, but no provision had been made for its payment in funds released to schools.
CHASS also requested an upward review of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) practical fees to GHC50 per student per subject or hand over completely the entire process to a relevant body.
That was because the current situation where schools were indirectly made to bear the cost of WASSCE practicals as a result of woefully inadequate releases was unacceptable, it said.
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