The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has said that the semester system adopted by the Ghana Education Service (GES) as part of conditions for reopening schools as a result of the Covid – 19 pandemic resulted in high absenteeism among students.
Per the semester system for the academic year, JHS run the first semester from January 18 to June 11, 2021, while the second semester will start from July 6 to December 7.
However, kindergarten and primary school pupils continued with their normal trimester system.
In an interview on Campus Exclusive, the Local District chairman of the Madina – Adenta – Abokobi chapter of GNAT, Christian Yaw Adinkra described the first semester for both JHS students and teachers as being very stressful due to the prolonged academic year.
He said the toll of academic activities on teachers and students, in particular, led to a high rate of truancy in schools.
“…as we vacate, the teachers are tired, the students are weak and tired. Within this when I took an analysis of the very day we began this [from the 18th as we began the semester], my cross-checks suggests that we had the highest absenteeism within these days” he disclosed.
Mr. Christian Yaw Adinkra maintained that the disparities between the JHS, kindergarten, and primary school pupils’ semesters accounted for the rise in truancy.
“…we [JHS students] have been coming to school with our junior siblings[in primary schools] now they are on break and I am still in school…the system is not fair. This brought some confusion initially. Immediately the primary had their break you will realize that the JHS students who had their siblings at the primary also try to mimic that vacation they had and so they were undulating in coming to school. When you have a structure or calendar like this it really makes the student or forces the student to show some signs of absenteeism or truancy” he explained
The second semester for Junior High Schools is expected to commence from July 6 to December 7.