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General News of Monday, 31 August 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

IFEST commends Akufo-Addo for suspending academic calendar for Kindergarten, JHS1, others

President Nana Akufo-Addo President Nana Akufo-Addo

The Institute for Education Studies (IFEST) has commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for suspending the academic calendar for Basics level to Kindergarten, JHS1 and SHS1 till January next year.

The President announced the decision on Sunday, August 31, 2020, during his 16th national address on measures taken to hold the spread of the novel coronavirus in Ghana.

In a press release issued on Monday, August 31, 2020, IFEST said it welcomes the President’s suspension of the academic calendar because the wholesale reopening of schools would present logistical challenges to the Ghana Education Service (GES).

“It would also make it very difficult for school authorities to implement fully the health protocols. That is why, we advocated for the partial reopening of schools and continue to insist that, that is the best way to go. This position, coincidentally, tallies with the position taken by the managers of our Education,” IFEST said in the release.

In a 7-point recommendation, IFEST also urged the government to redesign the virtual teaching programmes rolled out by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the GES to suit the class of students affected by the postponement.

“Other television stations should be brought on board to help telecast the virtual lessons to reach a larger number of students,” IFEST appealed to government as part of its recommendations.

Read the entire 7-point recommendations below.

IFEST's OFFICIAL POSITION ON THE PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS ON EDUCATION

IFEST welcomes the move by the government to suspend the academic calendar for SHS1, JHS1 and Basics I to Kindergarten till January 2021. IFEST has since the emergence of Covid-19 been against the wholesale reopening of schools since in our estimation, it will present logistical challenges to the Ghana Education Service.

Again, it would also make it very difficult for school authorities to implement fully the health protocols. That is why, we advocated for the partial reopening of schools and continue to insist that, that is the best way to go. This position, coincidentally, tallies with the position taken by the managers of our Education.

We would however want to make the following appeal:

1. MoE and GES should as a matter of urgency redesign their virtual teaching programmes to suit the class of students affected by the postponement.

2. Other Television stations should be brought on board to help telecast the virtual lessons to reach a larger number of students.

3. Lessons to deprived communities should be carried out through radio and other communication platforms to reach students who will not be able to access the E-learning platforms and also cannot be part of other virtual classes.

4. The provision of the relevant health materials and PPEs should be delivered on time and to all teachers and students to avoid the challenges faced during the initial reopening of school for the final year students. 5. The National Inspectorate Board should conduct random checks in schools to ensure that school authorities are enforcing all the health protocols on campus.

6. The Government should take steps to mitigate the impact of the closure of schools on private school teachers. We wish that special packages are made available to these teachers to enable them meet their needs till we return to normalcy. We make this appeal not being oblivious of the enormous pressure on the government's finances, however, we wish that, steps are taking to collate information on these teachers and special arrangements made to support them. We would also appeal to corporate Ghana to also step in and assist teachers in the various private schools during this challenging moment.

7. Finally, parents should continue to assist their wards with their academic work during this period. They should develop timetables for their kids and ensure that they take part in the various platforms created by the government to ensure continuity in their Education.

Signed

Peter Anti

(Executive Director, Ag.)

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