The 2023 academic year for first and second-cycle schools across the country will begin from tomorrow, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has said.
While it will be the commencement of the first semester for second-cycle schools, it will be the first term for basic schools.
This is the third year in a row in which the academic year is commencing from January, after it was jolted by the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic from March 2020, during which schools were forced to close down.
Previously, the academic year began in September every year.
Per the provisional 2023 academic calendar released by the Ministry of Education and the GES to heads of institutions, there will not be double track at any level, and that only two year groups of the three cohorts of students in senior high school (SHS) are to be in school at any given time for the academic year.
“In the transitional option, two of the three year groups must be in school at a given time,” it said.
According to the GES, the decision was to prevent congestion, as well as maintain social distancing to prevent COVID-19.
The first semester under the transitional calendar for SHS Three students will be from January 10 to February 17, 2023.
Students will then break from February 18 to March 12 and go back to school from March 13 to June 2 to end the first semester.
They will break from June 3 to 18 and then go back to school for the second semester from June 19 to September 28, 2023.
In the case of SHS Two students, they will be in school (first semester) from January 10 to March 9, this year and then break from March 10 to April 21. They will go back to school from April 24 to June 2 and then break from June 3 to August 6, 2023 for the first semester vacation.
The second semester will be from August 7 to December 22, this year.
For SHS One students, the calendar said they would report to school for the first semester from February 20 to April 21, 2023 and then break from April 22 to June 18, 2023. The students will return to school from June 19 to August 4 to wrap up the semester and then break from August 5 to October 1, 2023.
The second semester will commence from October 2 to December 22, 2023.
For single track schools, the calendar for SHS One to Three students will cover 34 weeks, comprising 1,360 contact hours.
The SHS Three students will report to school (boarders) from January 10 to May 11, 2023 and then go on break from May 12 to June 2, 2023.
They will report to school from June 5 to September 29 to write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
SHS Two students will also be in school from January 10 to May 11, 2023, break from May 12 to June 2 and then go back to school for the second semester from June 5 to October 9, 2023.
For first-year students, they will be in school from January 20, 2023 to May 11, 2023, break from May 12 to June 2 and return to school for the second semester from June 5 to November 10, 2023.
At the basic school level, pupils will go to school for the first term from January 10 to April 20, 2023 (14 weeks) and break from April 21 to May 1, 2023.
The second term resumes from May 2 to August 9, 2023 and then break from August 10 to August 21, 2023.
The third term will be from August 22 to November 16, 2023.
Responding to why two cohorts of students must be in school at a time, the Chairman of the GES Council, Michael Nsowah, who emphasised that the calendar was a provisional one, told the Daily Graphic that there had been an increase in student population in a good number of schools and so allowing all the three cohorts at a time could bring about congestion and its consequences.
Allowing two cohorts to be in school at a time, he said, did not mean that students would be short-changed, and that by that system they would be doing more hours.
He said it would also lessen the pressure on teachers to enable them to handle the number of students in school at any particular time.
He reminded parents and guardians that no timetable was final, and that changes could be made to the timetable in the event of a development like, for instance, the COVID-19.
Mr Nsowah said ,for instance, that if something happened and schoolchildren were asked to stay at home for a week, it would change, but the GES hoped that nothing would happen to bring about a change.
“All things being equal, this is how it is going to be; if anything happens, that will call for a change,” he said.
Explaining the transitional calendar, he said it made room for the few schools which were running the double track because of the large numbers of students.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Education, Kwasi Kwarteng, told the Daily Graphic that the provisional timetable out was at the finalisation stage.
He said although it was already out, it was possible there would be some changes “because the Cabinet has to approve it”.
“Hopefully, it will be approved in the coming days, but a lot may not change,” he said.
On when this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) results would be released, Mr Kwarteng said they would be out on January 19, 2023.
“Once the results are out, the process for the placement of candidates into SHSs and technical institutions will begin,” he said.