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General News of Monday, 13 July 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Voters register: Oppong Nkrumah rubbishes claims of elections as reason for schools reopening

Minister of Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has hit back at critics arguing that the reason for government reopening schools for final-year students is to win the ruling New Patriotic Party votes of final year Senior High School students who are beneficiaries of government's Free SHS policy in the upcoming presidential elections in December.

“What makes nonsense of that argument is that the people who are, for example, going to basic school (final year students) are about 750,000, are they going to vote? The basic schools, are they also going to vote?” He questioned rhetorically on Joynews’ Beyond the Lockdown on Sunday night.

According to the minister, the Senior High School students who have been singled out by the critics, which he points out are championed by members of the opposition National Democratic Congress, forms only a portion of the students who have resumed schooling and, therefore, it makes no sense for such an argument to be put forth.

“I am saying that what makes nonsense of that argument is the fact that if you look at basic schools, they are not going to register to vote. The argument has been that we want these final year students to go and complete their examination and go out. Those at Senior High Schools again complete and go out, form two gold track who haven’t finished for them to complete. Tertiary, those who are going are those who are going to complete their exams and indeed tertiary institutions that have completed their exams have said clearly that they will not even open up because they have completed their exams. If you put all of this together, that argument of reopening for registration and voting is thrown out of the window,” he argued.

At the back of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, some people have criticized the government for reopening schools for final-year students to prepare and sit for their exit exams.

Some critics say the decision by the ruling government is only aimed at getting final year senior high school students, who are the first batch of beneficiaries of the ruling party’s free SHS policy, to register and vote for the government in the December polls.

Others say the decision by the Electoral Commission to send officers into senior high schools only puts the students at risk of contracting COVID-19.

In response to the latter argument, the Minister of Information further argued that “in any case, what the Electoral Commission is doing which we are all watching and I have had the opportunity to speak about even last week, is supposed to be done under an environment that doesn’t put anybody at risk”.

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