The Minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) Caucus in Parliament has petitioned President Akufo-Addo to call on the Ghana Health Service to ensure they protect all the students in Senior High Schools as they prepare to sit for their forthcoming 2020 WASSCE for school candidates.
The Minority in a statement copied to Georgeweb.org said the Akufo-Addo government should prioritize the lives of the students currently in school to continue their academics as infections are recorded among students in some schools.
They said in the statement that “the fears of Ghanaians and parents, in particular, have heightened after the Minister for Health, Hon. Kweku Agyemang Manu, the Minister for Education, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, and Minister for Regional Reorganization, Hon. Dan Botwe tested positive for the virus, which led to the directives of the President, Akufo-Addo, suspending Cabinet meetings indefinitely, ostensibly to mitigate the spread of the virus”
“Reports emerging are that some students of the Accra Girls Senior High School, have contracted the virus and have been taken into isolation. What makes this situation even unfortunate is that parents of these children may not be aware of the conditions of their wards as schools have been warned to close their gates to visiting, as well as strictly adhere to directives of not calling parents except headmasters”.
The caucus argues that these instances and the surge in COVID-19 figures in the country confirm a nationwide spread making it necessary for the government to shut down schools.
“Some of these school children, report to school through the use of commercial vehicles, which increases their risk of infections. Some schools, including some in Ho, which has called for mass testing of their students before admitting them to mingle with others, were ignored without a second thought”.
“We are of the firmest conviction that as a nation we must not wait until it is too late to do anything. Our students need to be protected from the high risks of exposure. As can be seen, the Akufo-Addo government has failed to contain the virus”.
It further suggested that the country has a choice of reducing such risks by shutting down all reopened schools for a much extended period until the unexpected situation is brought under control.
It says the government, the Ministry of Education, the Teacher Unions and Civil Society Organizations, must get back to the table, and with the help of medical experts, re-examine the situation at hand, and make amends in the initial decisions that saw the reopening of schools.
“If the real motive to reopen schools is for final year students to prepare to write their final examinations, then a second look at this motive in the face of rising cases and reported cases in some schools is warranted,” it added.
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“We must prioritize and protect the lives of the students, after all, how can sick or dead students write exams. The examinations can be postponed but the safety of our future leaders cannot be postponed”. it said.