Teacher unions call on government to re-open schools for final-year students

The four teacher unions in Ghana have said that any plan of re-opening schools in the country should begin with only final year junior and senior high school students.

That, they said were because those were candidates preparing for their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and were currently going through emotional trauma since they were not sure of what was going to happen to them because of the closure of schools due to the COVID-19.

The unions comprised the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), the Coalition of Concerned Teachers -Ghana (CCT), and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU).

“Because of the social distancing and other protocols and the congestions in the various schools we are saying that even if the government lifts the ban on restrictions, we would want to start with the candidates. “This means that only form three students in JHS and SHS would go to school and in doing that too we are saying no classroom should have more than 20 students,” they said in their 19-point proposals presented to the president last Wednesday.

The President of the GNAT, Mrs. Philippa Larsen made this known in an interaction with journalists on the sidelines of the association’s launch of the impact assessment of COVID-19 on education in Accra Thursday, reports Graphic Online’s, Emmanuel Bonney.

According to her, the unions had called for the disinfection of all schools, whether public or private, basic or second cycle, to keep the school environment safe for children and teaching and non-teaching staff.

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced the closure of schools indefinitely on March 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Mrs. Larsen said the unions were demanding that all teachers and schoolchildren be provided with nose masks as part of measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 in schools. She said the unions were asking the government to ensure that every school had running water and sanitation facilities including soap, tissue, and sanitisers.

Mrs. Larsen said once all those measures were put in place teachers and students would be in the right frame of minds without any fear of contracting the virus to teach and learn, adding that the unions would not hesitate to stay away if those measures, among others, were not put in place.

“So these are some of the things we have discussed with the government and for me, I am very hopeful that it would accept them, otherwise as major stakeholders, we would tell our people not to go to school,” she said, adding that “we would also ask parents and guardians not to send their children to school”.


Kwame Sektor

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