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General News of Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Source: Peace FM

School Calendar postponement: Govt did not consult relevant stakeholders - Dr. Apaak claims

The Ranking Member of Parliament on the Select Committee on Education, Dr. Clement Apaak has stated that the Akufo-Addo government is not being sincere on the issue of consulting relevant stakeholders on the decision to postpone nursery, kindergarten, primary, JHS1, and SHS1 academic calendar to 2021.

The 2019/2020 academic calendar for Nursery, Primary, JHS 1, and SHS 1 has been postponed to 2021.

The next academic calender will resume January 2021, according to President Akufo-Addo in his 16th address to the nation.

"The Ghana Education Service, after further consultations, has decided to postpone the remainder of the academic year for all nursery, kindergarten, primary, JHS 1 and SHS 1 students. The next academic year will resume in January 2021, with appropriate adjustments made to the curriculum, to ensure that nothing is lost from the previous year."

Second-year Junior High School (JHS) and Senior High School (SHS) students, are to resume 5th October, according to President Akufo-Addo.

Akufo-Addo not being sincere

But commenting on Okay FM’s 'Ade Akye Abia' Morning Show, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South insisted that the claim of President Akufo-Addo to have consulted relevant stakeholders in the Education sector cannot be true.

He added that debates have been ongoing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as to whether to allow the children go back to school or remain at home to allow the academic year to elapse in order to start afresh in the next academic year in 2021.

According to him President Akufo-Addo delivering his 15th address to the nation called for a thorough and detailed debate; thus, the Minister of Education Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh on that score unveiled a 10-member committee, comprising representatives of private schools, GES and others with the mandate to hold consultations with stakeholders to provide recommendation and report ostensibly to the Minister and eventually to the President.

To him, the committee was given by the 21st of September to finish the consultation and bring the final decision; thus, the announcement by the President to have finished a consultation with relevant stakeholders to decide to make SHS1 and JHS1 students resume school cannot be true as some of the relevant stakeholders have come out to deny any consultation with the government.

He hinted that some of the members of the 10-member committee who were supposed to hold the consultation are alleged to have said that the announcement by President Akufo-Addo claiming to have consulted relevant stakeholders have caught them unaware.

“The committee also had a membership of the Ghana Council of Private Schools but they have said they were never invited to any matter indicating that the decisions were being made on the basis of consultation regarding the announcing reopening,” he claimed.

“NAGRAT is a key stakeholder when it comes matters to do with pre-tertiary education and I believe that GNAT is also a key stakeholder and I have not heard GNAT but NAGRAT President Angel Kabonu has said that NAGRAT was never consulted; their views were never sought . . . They were taken by surprise by the announcement of the President . . . ” he disclosed.

Reopening Committee inaugurated

The Minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh called for collaboration with all stakeholders ahead of government’s plans to reopen schools following the shut down in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

Dr. Prempeh made this call on August 20 when he inaugurated a 10-member committee in Accra to deliberate and advise on modalities for the re-opening of schools in the pre-tertiary subsector for the approval of the President.

He told the committee that in its deliberations, it must ensure that all stakeholders are brought on board in drawing up its recommendations for transmission to the President and thanked them for accepting this important national assignment.

In reply, the chairman of the Committee, Prof. Dominic Fobih, a former Minister of Education and currently the Chairman of the GETFund Board of Trustees, thanked the Minister for entrusting them with this responsibility and assured him that the committee would be diligent in all its deliberations and learn lessons from the recent limited reopening for final year students.

The committee was expected to report to the Minister on Monday, 21st September 2020 on its recommendations.

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