Education think tank, Africa Education Watch, following the cabinet’s meeting with President Akufo-Addo on January 2021 school reopening decision has suggested some 5 key points the government should consider.
This comes after the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah at a Press Briefing disclosed Nana Akufo-Addo on December 30, 2020, will meet with the cabinet to confirm the school reopening date for next year.
Mr Kofi Asare, the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch in a statement shared to Educationweb.com.gh suggested that the;
1. Prolonged school closure affects new enrolment. With over 400,000 children currently out of basic school, there is the need for a community sensitization programme to mobilize 1,000,000 children for enrolment in kindergarten one.
2. Prolonged school closures also has a negative impact on students (especially girls) re-enrolment due to teenage pregnancy, child marriage and child labour. Save the Children estimates 10 million children may not return to school in Africa.
A nationwide re-entry campaign funded by the government and led by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana Education Service, in partnership with CSOs should be rolled out to identify and support students, especially pregnant girls to re-enrol after delivery. A social protection strategy detailing the specific kinds of support must be developed for implementation.
3. Pursuant to (2) above, the Ministry of Education should harmonize the free SHS admission system and the re-entry policy to allow school heads to re-admit students especially pregnant girls after delivery.
4.There are about 1.2 million households without electricity. Children in these households had limited or no access to virtual learning opportunities deployed by the government during the long period of school closure.
This has widened the already existing education quality inequality between rural and urban children. An in-person extra tuition intervention to bridge this gap in rural schools must be considered, as we encourage the pursuit of human capacity and technology enhancement in virtual learning systems and technologies for teachers and schools while exploring innovations to reach rural children with interactive virtual learning programmes.
5. Delayed availability of sanitation kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) remain unresolved from the previous school re-opening experiences. Government must consider decentralizing the procurement of PPEs and ensure every school receives PPEs and sanitation logistics before re-opening.
His Excellency Akufo-Addo in his first televised nation’s address on March 14, 2020, directed for the closure of all schools in the country as part of efforts to slow and curb the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic.