The Deputy Minister for Education and Member of Parliament for Bosomtwe Constituency, Dr. Yaw Adutwum has on behalf of the Ministry of Education confirmed reopening of schools in Ghana would take a longer period of time for the benefit and safety of students amid COVID-19.
The Minister noted that some developed countries like China and others are starting to return to school.
However, the Deputy Minister for Education in an interview ON Citi TV’s Point of View urged Ghanaians to refrain from pressurizing the government into considering similar decisions.
The Member of Parliament commented that the closure of schools by the President was a safety measure to prevent the spread of the disease in schools and should be in force until scientific data recommend otherwise.
“At this point, what I will say is that we all need to do our part to make sure the President and together with the country, win the battle against COVID-19. 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.”
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“It is not like during the military regime in our times when universities were closed for political reasons. That is when you could appeal to the government and say can you open the universities for us? It was a political decision. The safety of the students was not at stake. The lives of the students were not at stake. I do not want us to stampede those who are leading the fight but rather pray for them and ask them when the environment is safe, based on the data, based on the facts, based on the science, please tell us to go back to school and we will gladly do so. We should not be seen as saying can we go as if we are making independent decisions aside of COVID-19,” Dr. Adutwum explained.
Nana Addo’s directive
President Akufo-Addo on a televised nation’s address delivered on March 15, 2020, directed for the closure of all schools throughout the country effective Monday, March 16, 2020
“All Universities, Senior High Schools, and basic schools, i.e. public and private schools, will be closed Monday, 16th March 2020, till further notice. The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication, has been tasked to roll out distance learning programmes,” he said.
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President Akufo-Addo, however, said students who will be taking part in this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) “will be permitted to attend school to prepare for their examinations, but with specify social distancing protocols.”
But following several appeals by stakeholders and Ghanaians, the President later announced for final year students to go home.