The President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Angel Carbonu, is asking the general public to desist from putting pressure on government to open schools in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.
It has been about seven weeks since schools were shut down following a directive by President Nana Akufo-Addo to help curb the spread of the virus.
On the back of this, some teachers, and heads of institutions who are facing challenges with salary payment and keeping the students occupied during these times have begun demanding that the schools should be opened, especially after the partial lockdown on some parts of the country was lifted.
There have also been complaints from some parents who find difficulty in keeping their children occupied during these times due to financial constraints and lack of resources.
But Angel Carbonu on The Point of View on Wednesday indicated that Ghanaians would be “laughing at the wrong side of their mouths” if activities at schools should be resumed in these times.
“No one should stampede the government by putting pressure on the government to open schools. What happens in a school of 2,000 students when all sleep in dormitories and study in a classroom of over 50 students? If one student is affected with coronavirus, we know what is going to happen. We know the nature of our schools in this country. Who is going to tell the Class 1 child about social distancing? The moment you tell a Class 1 child to keep social distances, he’ll prove to you his understanding of social distancing by coming close to you. Please let us not stampede the government to open schools for there to be any calamity because when it gets to the younger generation, we will all be laughing at the wrong side of our mouths,” he said.
A Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of Basic and Secondary Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, also on the program noted that the reopening of schools should be delayed a little longer to ensure the safety of students in the wake of COVID-19.
He said the closure was a safety measure devised by the government to prevent a spread of the virus in schools and should be in force until scientific data suggests otherwise.
“Everything we are saying here is not because someone does not want to do something. We are running this country and we are fighting this fight based on science and facts. If the environment is not safe for students to be in school, you cannot be in school,” the Deputy Minister said.
Closure of schools
At the time President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the shutting down of the schools on March 15, 2020, Ghana had recorded six cases of COVID-19.
The case count has now jumped to 1,671 with 16 deaths and 188 recoveries.
The 2020 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) which was scheduled to begin on March 30, 2020, and end on June 1, 2020, has also been suspended until further notice.
As there is no end in sight in the fight against COVID-19 and subsequent opening of schools, managers of educational institutions have resorted to using digital platforms for teaching and learning in a bid to cover up for the lost periods, with some, soon to conduct online end of year examinations.