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Opinions of Sunday, 31 May 2020

Columnist: Asiedu Adwoa Kyerewaa

Open letter to the Minister of Education, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh


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It is worrying to have the schools closed in this time-a time where WAEC time table for SHS final years and JHS final years is released. I’m not sure this is anything we anticipated. In this light, I write to you my opinion on the issues. What makes me and many others worried is the fact that the pandemic has become part of us and we students are staying home for quite a long time and I believe it is time pragmatic actions are taken by the ministry to rapidly save the rest of us and those preparing for exams.

Sir, please grant me a seat in your humble ministry to highlight and unwrap my observations and views in the matter to pinpoint the missing tracks. [Not the double track, to say]

The continuous closure of the schools has bedevilled parents, teachers (both private and government) and the whole student body. I understand the ministry and the Ghana Education Service have put in place learning platforms on TV for students to watch and follow.

Sir, we would have wished the Ghana Education Service liaised with the head of schools who will, in turn, come together with various Heads of Departments to engage students on many of the social media platforms or via Skype or Zoom.

Many students I know and those that I don’t know have confessed how they have difficulty in accessing the channel. Others say they would have preferred their tutors; besides, the engagement does not come with strictness or much discipline. This is because they having academic engagements with their tutors on WhatsApp platforms come with strictness which allows them not to misconduct themselves.

Another major problem that needs immediate attention is the less privileged who neither have smartphones nor television or who live in remote areas where these sophisticated technological devices are a luxury.

Most TV stations mix up classes which leave students confused at the end of the day not knowing the specific subject or work to touch. So, in situations, where some parents are home always and have penchant for specific programs and where classes coincide with such programs it becomes a bane rather than a boon.

Sir, I understand government is making plans with GES to reopen the schools.-Good ideas. I recommend, since Covid-19 has been declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a virus that is going to stay with us for long, I’m not sure the schools need to remain closed. The final years in SHS, JHS and the Tertiary, most especially need to resume and gradually the rest of as cave in. With all the safety protocols and as we do when going to markets, I suggest the ministry with the GES together with all heads of schools need to agree on measures to receive the students, workers and our tutors or lecturers. And institutionalize measures to make all classrooms, dormitories, dining halls, assembly halls and all gatherings accommodating when students get in.

The universities should also be opened with measures in place. It will help students who have had difficulties in accessing lectures online and having quizzes online to have an equal share of what is delivered.

In this light, I strongly believe that if immediate attention is paid to the measures I have penned down, they will help make progress in the academic calendar and address the shortfalls of those who have had fewer contact hours.

I must say opening the schools may ‘endanger' our lives but staying home also jeopardizes our future.

God bless Ghana.

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