GES, Teacher Unions Dialogue On Semester System Inconclusive

A stakeholders’ dialogue on the implementation of the semester educational system at the pre-tertiary level between the Ghana Education Service (GES) and teacher unions ended in a deadlock in Accra yesterday.
The unions comprised the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Coalition of Concerned Teachers-Ghana (CCT-Gh) and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU).

The GES team was led by its Director-General, Prof. Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, and included one of his deputies, Mr Anthony Boateng, and some officials of the GES and the Ministry of Education.

The unions were represented by the General-Secretary of GNAT, Mr Thomas Musah; the President of NAGRAT, Mr Angel Carbonu; the President of CCT-Gh, King Awudu Ali, and the General-Secretary of TEWU, Mr Mark Dankyira Korankye.

A source at the GES who was at the meeting confirmed to the Daily Graphic that the meeting had been inconclusive, saying while the GES team maintained that the semester system was the best option, “the unions insisted they preferred the trimester system”.

It said there was the need for further discussions, and that the GES would, therefore, call for another meeting early next week.

It, however, said while discussions and negotiations were ongoing, schools would continue to be in session.

Issues discussed

Throwing more light on the outcome of the meeting, Mr Musah said the unions had asked the GES to abolish the semester system and go back to the trimester system since the former was only a temporary measure to deal with a large number of free senior high school students.
He said as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted the educational calendar, the semester system was extended to junior high schools as a temporary measure.

“We believe that the time to go back to the trimester system is now, and that is what we are asking for. So we tabled that before the GES, but it looks like it is of a different opinion, insisting that we go with the semester system. But we said no, and so there was a deadlock.

“The GES is saying that next week it will invite us for more discussions, but we are saying that as things stand now, we will have to go back to our national officers, and whatever it is, next week we will speak to it,” Mr Musah said.

“We are all meeting our leaders today and whatever decisions we arrive at will be communicated to the media next Monday,” he added.


Last Monday, the four teacher unions called on the GES to withdraw the entire semester system at the pre-tertiary level for wider consultations with stakeholders before implementation.

According to the unions, the unilateral change in the school calendar from the trimester system to the semester system to cover pupils at the primary and the kindergarten levels by the GES was arbitrary and an imposition on major stakeholders in education, of which the unions were a part.
In a statement, the unions called on the GES to “immediately withdraw the policy, pending full consultations with us and other major stakeholders. We would like to serve notice that failure to do so will be resisted fiercely”.