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General News of Friday, 22 May 2020


We shouldn't be in a rush to reopen schools- Prof. Addae Mensah tells govt

Minister for Education,  Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh Minister for Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh

Professor Ivan Addae-Mensah, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, has advised the government not to reopen schools too early.

This comes after some teacher unions, parents and other stakeholders expressed their worries that the reopening schools of at a time that Ghana continues to record more Coronavirus cases will pose as a threat to teachers and students.

Also, the Council for the National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (NCPTAs) has indicated that it will be "premature to reopen schools".

Prof Addae adding his voice to the development warned the government not to listen to the teachers and headteachers and do extensive consultations with the necessary stakeholders before reopening schools.

He said "It's a very complex issue, especially with regard to the rural areas."

In an interview on Accra-based Class FM, he explained that "If you take the rural areas, they have no other alternative to school for learning anything. The poorer people, apart from what they learn in school – if you talk about learning from the computer, from this, from that – they just don't have access to it."

Prof. Addae said "On the other hand, they are the most crowded group of schoolchildren. You go to some rural areas, one class can have as many as 80 people in a class, so, you go and pack these people in; even if you divide them into three groups, that is going to be about 25 to 30 in a class, that's a handful.

"So, it's a very very complex issued and I would want to advise that if the government has any intention, the discussion should not be unilateral, it should be between the stakeholders, especially the teachers and headteachers and the educational authorities so that the correct solution is found that would be suitable for every child in this country, not just the children in Accra or the children of the elite because, usually, what I’ve found in this country is that, usually, when we go in for policies, we seem to do things as if Accra in Ghana and we forget that this country is very diverse, and more often than not it is the majority of children who suffer."

"So, we shouldn’t be in any rush – that's my opinion – we shouldn’t be in any rush, especially when the teachers are advising and the parents themselves are anxious. We shouldn’t be in any rush to send the children to school, especially when we don’t even know the situation in the rural areas," he added.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has indicated that the government has not taken yet taken any decision on when schools will reopen.