His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo following the partial reopening of schools for only final year students has said he did that advisedly because the country’s’ education, health, and issues of social justice cannot be halted because of the global pandemic that has claimed at least 58 lives.
President Akufo-Addo in his 10th televised nation’s address on May 31 announced the reopening of schools for final year students in the country for them to complete the 2019/2020 academic year and prepare for their respective exit examinations.
He recently in his eleventh televised citizenry address insisted that schools reopened for final year students in tertiary institutions effective June 15, adding that his government will ensure they are safe despite the surge in coronavirus cases in the country.
The President however in his address said “The decision to include our schools in phase one of the easing of restrictions was taken advisedly”.
His statement follows claims by some Ghanaians arguing that the President is putting the lives of students, teachers, and non-teaching staff in danger by school reopening.
Some were even giving examples of other countries, who have done so and recorded spikes in their infection case counts.
President Akufo-Addo responding to the claims said “I have stated, on several occasions, that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the resolution of this pandemic”.
“We have our own unique situation in the country, and we have always taken that it into account in dealing with this disease, much as we are prepared to learn from the examples of others”, he said.
“Saving lives, jobs and livelihoods, revitalizing our economy, and safeguarding the future of our country have been at the heart of this endeavor”, adding: “We cannot say that because of the pandemic, we are no longer interested in issues of social justice such as education and health”.
Education, the President said, “indeed, is the key to the future of our country”.
“The quality of education that our educational institutions produce, ultimately”, he noted, “will determine the success or otherwise of our nation”.
“We, therefore, have to find a way of guaranteeing the prospects of the generation of young people who are the objects of education today, and who represent our future”.
“We have to do everything within our power to protect their potential, and, thereby, help preserve our future”.
“We cannot afford to let the pandemic undermine our chances for survival and progress. We have to confront our present and future with confidence, knowing fully well that we must remain, at all times, vigilant and careful”.
“So, from tomorrow, operating with half the class size, final-year students will begin a six-week period of learning to finish their respective programmes. Subsequently, for a period of four weeks, they will sit for their exit examinations. It must be put on record that some final-year university students will not be returning to school, as some of them, through virtual means, have already sat their exit examinations”, he announced.
Following the partial school reopening, the government, through the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, has ensured that all tertiary institutions, public and private, have been disinfected.
Universities, with their own hospitals and clinics, have been equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment, and have isolation centres to deal with any positive cases, the President noted.
“All other institutions, without their own clinics and hospitals, have been mapped to health facilities”, he said.
He, however, said: “There will be no mass gatherings and no sporting activities. Religious activities, under the new protocols, will be permitted. Social-distancing and the wearing of face masks must become the norm on campus”.
“To aid in this effort, a total of six hundred thousand (600,000) face masks have been distributed to the tertiary institutions. This is to enable every student, teaching, and non-teaching staff to have three (3) reusable face masks. In addition to this, one thousand seven hundred (1,700) Veronica buckets, two hundred thousand (200,000) liters of hand sanitizers, three thousand, four hundred (3,400) liters of liquid soap, and nine hundred (900) thermometer guns have been distributed, with the transportation and delivery of these items being overseen by the special logistics team of the Government Committee, chaired by the sagacious, experienced politician, the Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osafo Maafo, that is supervising the re-opening of the schools”.