Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum - Deputy.Education Minister
The Deputy Minister of Education in-charge of Basic and Secondary Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum believes the reopening of schools should be delayed a little longer to ensure the safety of students amid COVID-19.
Already, some schools in other countries around the world are starting to return to school after the outbreak of the virus.
While speaking in a Town Hall Meeting yesterday, Dr Adutwum advised against compelling the government into taking a similar decision in Ghana.
The Deputy Minister said the closure was a safety measure devised by the government to prevent the virus spread in schools and should be in force until scientific data suggests otherwise.
“At this point, what I will say is that we all need to do our part to make sure the President and together with the country, will win the fight against COVID-19. Everything we are saying here is not because someone does not want to do something. We are running this country and we are fighting this fight based on science and facts. If the environment is not safe for students to be in school, you cannot be in school.”
“It is not like during the military regime in our times when universities were closed for political reasons. That is when you could appeal to the government and say can you open the universities for us? It was a political decision. The safety of the students was not at stake. The lives of the students were not at stake. I do not want us to stampede those who are leading the fight but rather pray for them and ask them when the environment is safe, based on the data, based on the facts, based on the science, please tell us to go back to school and we will gladly do so. We should not be seen as saying can we go as if we are making independent decisions aside of COVID-19,” Dr Adutwum explained.
The directive from President Akufo-Addo
Earlier, President Akufo-Addo, in his address to the nation on Sunday, March 15, 2020, directed schools in the country to shut down effective Monday, March 16, 2020, when Ghana began recording cases of COVID-19 in efforts to mitigate the spread.
“All Universities, Senior High Schools, and basic schools, i.e. public and private schools, will be closed Monday, 16th March 2020, till further notice. The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communication, has been tasked to roll out distance learning programmes,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo, however, said students who will be taking part in this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) “will be allowed to attend school to prepare for their examinations, but with prescribed social distancing protocols.”
But this decision was later reviewed allowing such students to go home following the severity of COVID-19 cases in the country and the need to safeguard citizens.
Currently, this year’s WASSCE has been put on hold awaiting further directive from the government.