Enoch Kwasi Gyetuah - Executive Director of GNACOPS
The Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS) has said the schools should be reopened if the government believes it is safe, regardless of the rise in COVID-19 cases in the country. Although teachers from the public schools are asking the government to abort any possible plans of reopening schools, the GNACOPS argues otherwise.
“I want the President to reopen schools and come up with some mechanisms and approach that we can all adhere to,” the Executive Director of GNACOPS, Enoch Kwasi Gyetuah pointed out in an interview.
The position of private schools has been challenged by four teacher unions who are kicking against plans to reopen schools in this era of the global pandemic. The four are the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Tertiary Education Workers Union (TEWU), and Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT).
In a joint statement, they indicated that items for the observation of the prescribed protocols which includes face masks and alcohol-based sanitizers are not available in the various schools hence their apprehension.
Closure of schools in the country took effect since March 15, 2020, as part of measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The decision was made known by President Nana Akufo-Addo as the country awaits new measures adopted to fight the virus by May 31, 2020.
According to the teacher unions, the Ghana Education Service in a circular dated May 13, 2020, had requested for “proposals for the reopening of schools” hence their statement urging the government not to consider such a decision now. But Mr. Gyetuah, who insisted the reopening of schools was of the view that the government will not take any decision that will jeopardize the health of students.
“If the government comes out and tells us that conditions have changed and communities are safe now, why not? Before the removal of the lockdown, the President said he had spoken with the experts and they are claiming that it was safe to remove the lockdown. I know very well that the Education Ministry and its agencies will certainly come out with some guidelines and we the implementers are supposed to make sure that those structures or framework are adhered to.”
He said further said that “If you ask me for my personal view on this thing, I’ll say that I still see students who have been asked to stay home still roaming on the street. I also see them engaging in a lot of social activities on the streets. So, if there is a directive that we should go to the classroom as at now, and now the government gives us some measures to adhere to, then we will adhere to the measures.”
Meanwhile, National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) President, Angel Carbonu has in an earlier voice insisted that it was not safe for schools to reopen.