Teacher unions call for a new SHS calendar

The Ghana Education Service (GES) and teacher unions are negotiating to match the senior high school (SHS) calendar with the basic school calendar.

This comes after the basic school academic schedule was reversed to the pre-COVID-19 era beginning with the 2023–2024 school year.

The new academic year for elementary schools will start on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, and end on July 25, 2024, in accordance with the amended calendar.

SHSs continue to use the interim calendar, which runs from January to December each year.


Mark Denkyira Korankye, the general secretary of the Teachers and Education Workers Union (TEWU), told the Daily Graphic that the unions were collaborating with the GES on a solution to realign the first and second cycle school calendars in order to remedy the problem.

He used the meeting with the GES, which was scheduled approximately two weeks ago, as an example. He claimed that it was intended for the stakeholders to determine how “they can fit the senior high school system into this one so that there would be a reconciled programme.”

According to Mr. Korankye, the unions have long pushed for a return to the pre-COVID-19 programme so that the academic year could start in September or October and schools could enjoy their lengthy break starting in July of the following year.

“The teacher unions have always been pushing that we revert to the pre-COVID era schedule so we know that from September or October, the academic year is beginning and then end in June, and then we know there is a long vacation for children to have a rest.

“This time, what we are experiencing is that you break for two weeks, and then you are called to come back.

Meanwhile, parents are also suffering because they can’t plan as they have to go and pay school fees again for yet another term.

We have sat through with management and have discussed it, and we think that we should restructure it so that we go back to that old system, where the academic year begins from September-October and ends in June-July,” the TEWU General Secretary said.

He said the revised calendar for basic schools was welcome.

He said the new academic calendar was beneficial as it allowed for effective planning by the various stakeholders in education.

“That (current calendar) did not allow the teachers and administrators to prepare adequately for some of these things, so if we have a structured system that helps in planning and preparation, it would be good,” Mr Korankye said.

ALSO READ: 2023 GES Detailed Right to Information (RTI) Manual [Download]


After the 2022 academic year, the GES switched back to the pre-COVID-19 academic calendar for basic schools.

According to the reset calendar, it indicates that the first term of the school year 2023/2024 will start on October 3, 2023.

“Management of the Ghana Education Service wishes to inform you that the reopening date for basic schools (kindergarten, primary and junior high schools) across the country for the first term of the 2023/2024 academic year is October 3, 2023,” a memo signed and issued by the Deputy Director-General of the GES in charge of Quality and Access, Dr Kwabena Bempah Tandoh, said.

The memo, addressed to all regional directors of education, stated that “this brings back the academic calendar to pre-COVID-19.”


After the nation saw its first cases of COVID-19 on March 16, 2020, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo ordered the shutdown of all schools.

The announcement put a stop to all academic activity and upset the academic schedule.

The start of the academic year has since changed from September/October to January.

This persisted until 2022, when the GES created a transitional schedule in an effort to bring the academic year back to the time before COVID-19.

TWO civil society organisations (CSOs) involved in education have already praised the move to restore the fundamental school calendar to its pre-COVID-19 era.

In separate interviews, the CSOs Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch) and Challenging Heights said that while the decision was long overdue, it was still a good one because it would allow parents, guardians, and educational authorities to plan more effectively than it was possible to do in the post-COVID era due to the frequent changes.

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