Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, the Minister for Education, has explained that the decision on the re-opening date for first year students of SHS was to return the system to the pre-covid academic calendar.
He added that about 81 per cent of them had been placed into Senior High Schools hence pegging the re-opening on Monday, December 4, 2023.
Briefing Parliament on the matter, Dr Osei Adutwum also summarised the harmonised prospectus as the grounds for the commencement of the 2023/2024 academic year.
“Mr Speaker, given that over 81 per cent of students were automatically placed based on their choices, it cannot be said that a lot of placements are yet to be remedied because some candidates have been placed under the region they reside.
“In addition, for the first time the Ministry of Education with its relevant agencies and stakeholders, developed a National Harmonized Prospectus for all SHS and TVET students. This was to give parents ample time to buy the prospectus items and get their wards ready for school on December 4, 2023,” Dr Osei Adutwum said on the floor of Parliament on Monday.
First-year Senior High School (SHS) students across the country were expected to report to their respective schools on Monday, December 4, 2023, despite concerns about the re-consideration of the reopening date.
The Parliament of Ghana, parents, guardians, and other relevant stakeholders called for an extension of the reporting date, citing distinct reasons, but the Ghana Education Service (GES) maintained the December 4 date.
Parliament further urged the Minister of Education to consider rescheduling the reopening date to the first week of January instead of Monday, December 4.
A statement issued by the Parliamentary Service said: “Due to the short notice with its attendant inconvenience to students, parents, teaching, and non-teaching staff, the House proposes for the consideration of the Hon. Minister of Education the first week of January 2024 as a more convenient and appropriate time for parents, students, and teachers to adequately prepare for academic work.”
However, the request was turned down by GES.
In the Service response through its statement signed by Madam Cassandra Twum Ampofo, the Public Relations Officer of GES, it reminded parents, students, and the public that the reporting date for first-year students of SHS was December 4 as indicated on the Placement form.
It said: “It is the expectation of Management that schools begin registration and orientation of students from Monday, December 4th.
“Per the academic calendar, there would be a Christmas break on the 21st of December and a resume on the 3rd of January 2024, to continue academic work till March 5th, 2024,” the statement said.
Commenting on the issue on the floor of the House, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, a National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale South said the Ministry’s action was weakening the Parliament of Ghana’s oversight responsibility adding “There must be respect. So, when the Speaker directs on our behalf, it is not for any PRO in any ministry but for the minister to show respect to the House, particularly since he is also a member of this house,” he said.
About 585,797 out of 598,839 candidates were placed in various Senior High Schools and Technical and Vocational Education and Training Schools (TVET) nationwide through the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS).
Dr Osei Adutwum also the New Patriotic Party MP for Bosomtwe refuted the insistence that teaching and non-teaching staff did not have ample time to rest ahead of the re-opening of schools.
“Mr Speaker, since the introduction of the double track calendar in 2017, more teaching and non-teaching staff have been employed at schools. In fact, most teachers are only at the post when a particular track is in session. So, it cannot be true that all teachers have never had any rest since the double track was introduced,” he said.