Free SHS: Minister of Education defends the reopening date for first-year students

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The Ghana Education Service (GES), an organization under the ministry, decided to set December 4, 2023, as the date for first-year Senior High School (SHS) students who were recently placed to resume school. The Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, has provided an explanation for this decision.

The ministry’s and the GES’s decision to mandate that first-year students return to class a few days after receiving their school placement caused a furor among the public.

The ministry was urged to revoke the directive by some education stakeholders, such as teacher unions, who argued that parents required additional time to get ready before sending their children off to school. The ministry, however, was adamant and demanded that the students return on January 4.

Speaking to parliament on Monday, December 4, 2023, following his summons by Speaker of the House Alban Bagbin to explain the “abrupt” resumption date, Dr. Adutwum stated that the GES wants the school calendar to be restored to the one in use prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the date for students to resume classes cannot be changed.

“Last year school opened in February for first-year students, this year we are opening in December which gives us the opportunity to then open in October or September and therefore go back to the pre-Covid calendar as we are all envisaging,” he said.

The minister added that parents had made appropriate preparations because they were well aware of the resumption date.

He continued by saying that a large number of students (over 81%) have received their placement, which means that their academic work can begin, in comparison to last year.

Additionally, he disproved the claim that teachers are worn out from working year-round due to the double-track system.


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