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Fact-Check: Are all students returning to school on September 8?

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Christopher Sam
Christopher Sam is a web designer, developer and has advanced knowledge in Search Engine Optimization, Responsive Website Design, Emails Marketing, BULK SMS Messaging, Schema Markup and a certified Google Trainer. He is a creator and editor at Hypercitigh.com, an online digital platform focusing on Credible and Timely news and in Ghana.
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Claim: Education Minister says all students are returning to school on September 8.

Verdict: False. 

Full claim

Most of Ghana’s students are currently at home due to COVID-19 restrictions except for final year Senior and Junior School students and University students who the government cleared to resume classes in June 2020 to complete their academic terms and sit for their exit examinations.

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“From Monday, 15th June, 2020, the decision has been taken, after engagement with the Teacher Unions, whose co-operation I salute, to re-open schools and universities to allow for final year junior high, senior high and university students to resume classes ahead of the conduct of their respective exit examinations. Indeed, final year university students are to report to their universities on 15th June; final year senior high school (SHS 3) students, together with SHS 2 Gold Track students, on 22nd June; and final year junior high school (JHS 3) students on 29th June. JHS 3 classes will comprise a maximum of thirty (30) students; SHS classes a maximum of twenty-five (25) students; and University lectures will take place with half the class sizes,” President Akufo-Addo announced on May 31, 2020.

However, some website publications claim the Minister for Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has announced that all Ghanaian students are returning to school in September 2020.

Websites such as AddressGhana.comMediaghananews and Hardtruthgh.com that have published the stories claim that the minister said the decision was taken following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. 

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“The green light for the resuming of all Ghanaian students has finally been shown, as students ranging from basic school to tertiary are to return back to their respective classrooms on Tuesday, 8th September 2020….According to the minister, since all restrictions as far as the pandemic is concerned has been lifted, it has also become necessary for schools to also resume. He went on to say, with the easing of the restrictions, these students will be seen all over the place, which wouldn’t be better off than them being school,” excerpts of the report read.

The claim has been shared on some pages on social media. 

Full facts

Given that most students are currently at home due to COVID-19 restrictions, such a major announcement would be expected to be widely reported by credible media websites. However, Dubawa did not find the report on any major website.

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While our calls to the Ministry of Education for comment on the claim went unanswered, the Ghana Education Service (GES), an agency under the Ministry which superintends over all basic and pre-tertiary affairs, said it has not issued any statement to that effect.   

Cassandra Twum Ampofo, the Public Relations Officer of Ghana Education Service (GES), told Dubawa that the GES does not have any specific date yet as to when schools will reopen. 

“For school reopening we have not issued any statement out there. We don’t have any specific date as to when schools will reopen,” she said. 

Our further checks showed that the publication was first made by Hardtruthgh.com. 

After browsing through the website, we found that it had been stated at its “about us” section at the bottom of the home page that they describe themselves as “Ghana’s leading Satire and Parody portal.”

The publication contains no element of parody or satire but clear falsehood deliberately created to misinform the public. 

We, therefore, find the claim to be false.

The reporter produced this fact-check under the auspices of the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship in partnership with Citinewsroom to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and to enhance media literacy in the country.  

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