The need to eulogise the Ghana Government, the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and Teacher Unions for the strategic plans put in place to ensuring successful reopening of schools in the midst of Covid-19,through the advent of the semester system in Junior High Schools is prudent.
However, the giant mice that keeps unsettling the skulls of the Ghanaian populace is whether the semester system has come to stay. The system was introduced on the 18th day of January, 2021 so that, teachers and learners at the Junior High School level could meet up with the contact hours lost as a result of the pandemic (Covid-19).
It is worth admiring the policy mainly because it has:
1. provided adequate time frame for teachers to cover many topics within the syllabus.
2. reduced cost of financing education at the Junior High School level.
3. increased teacher and student interaction, making teachers have adequate information about their students.
The system affects education delivery in the following ways:
1. exerts continuous pressure on school facilities leading to increased cost of maintenance and repairs.
2. Increase in teacher and learner stress level with a spark in ill-health, and absenteeism, because of its prolonged nature, considering the age group of the students at that level.
3. boredomdue to repetition of lessons coupled with lack of teaching and learning materials.
4. Increases cost of school supervision among others.
In an attempt to reviewing the semester system, the following recommendations are worth taking note of:
1. the Ghana Education Service should support School Management Committees so that they could assist in taking charge of repairs and maintenance of school facilities without always looking up to the government.
2. over-reliance on improvisation in our schools should be a thing of the past. The Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service should procure adequate teaching and learning materials to facilitate teaching and learning. This would also help boost learner interest in learning during the long stay in school, leading to reduction in boredom and persistent improvisation of teaching and learning materials.
3. the mid-semester break should be extended or the duration for the semester system be reduced to make room for enough rest for learners and teachers.
4. grants should be promptly released to lessen the cost of managing the schools.
5. health packages for education sector workers should be introduced to cater for health breakdowns during these long periods of staying in school.
6. there should be infirmarians in each Junior High School to nurse the sick.
7. Finally, incentive packages for teachers teaching more than 35 students per class should be introduced.
In conclusion, the call to reviewing the semester system at the Junior High level should be hailed. It is imperative to roll down the political curtain, salute the flag of unity and togetherness to drive education to an estimable pedestal in our cherished country, Ghana.
WISDOM KOUDJO KLU
GREATER ACCRA REGION
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect The Chronicle’s stance.