The Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES,) has expressed regret for the delay in putting out the academic calendar for pre-tertiary schools for 2022.
He said the delay was for a good reason, assuring stakeholders that the calendar for the 2022 academic year would soon be announced.
The Director-General was responding to concerns expressed by parents and other stakeholders on the delay in announcing the academic calendar for 2022 for basic and second cycle schools.
Some stakeholders in the educational space have called on the management of education in the country to demonstrate their ability to run the sector as expected.
They have expressed concern about the uncertainty of the academic calendar for the pre-tertiary schools in recent times
They contended that currently, schools are unable to tell parents when the academic year will be beginning for basic and second cycle schools.
Parents are worried that the current situation poses a challenge for them, particularly as to how to plan for their children.
But Prof Opoku-Amankwa explained that, "to ensure that we get it right this time around, and avoid some of the infractions that bedeviled the calendar during the 2021 academic year, the Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum formed a Ministerial Committee on Schools Calendar which is almost done with it’s work.
"We are running the final draft by heads of schools and other stakeholders for their input,” Prof Opoku-Amankwa told Graphic Online.
The committee is headed by the Deputy Minister of Education Incharge of General Education, Rev. Ntim Fordjour (MP), with representatives from the various sectors of the Ministry including the GES, free SHS Secretariat, National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NACCA), TVET Service, and heads of schools among others.
Prof Opoku-Amankwa explained that the need for the ministerial committee became necessary with the addition of more TVET schools that would all benefit from the free SHS programme and there was therefore, the need for the Ministry of Education to reconcile and have a workable calendar that took into consideration all those TVET schools.
"Again, with the onset of the COVID-19 where students stayed home for almost a year, the entire calendar of the learning system was disrupted and there was the need then to have calendar that takes into consideration the lost time so that we can catch up.
"Additionally, the calendar that we are drawing also looks beyond 2022 to 2023 and 2024 to see how we can gradually come back to the school calendar year, which ends in June/July and starts in September/October," Prof Opoku-Amankwa explained.
He said all those together would take a little longer time to make sure that everything was worked out finally.
But sharing his thoughts on the issue, the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Mr Kofi Asare, said having a stable and definite academic calendar was non-negotiable as it enabled teachers, students and parents plan the discharge of their collective responsibilities.
He said the recent practice of running adhoc and ever changing school time tables was unacceptable and should not be allowed to become a culture.
"It has become a culture in senior high school due to the double track but after three years of double track, there cannot be any excuse for the adhoc and ever changing academic calendar," he said.
For his part, the President of the Foundation for Generational Thinkers (FOGET), Mr Prosper Dan Afetsi, said it was disheartening that students would go on vacation without knowing when they would return to school.
He said everything needed to be put in place going into a new academic year, where school authorities, parents and other stakeholders would have to plan ahead to ensure that everything went on smoothly.
He described the entire system as "frustrating" and called on the Ministry of Education and the GES to, as a matter of urgency, come out with the new academic calendar without further delay since the failure to do that would jeorpardise the smooth take off the academic year.
The Public Relations Director of FOGET, Mr Michael O. Ackwerh, contributing, said because the organisation dealt with a lot of schools, heads of those institutions had been calling to find out whether it had any information on the reopening of schools.
The calendar, he also said was critical for planning on the part of the various stakeholders.