“We must reopen, still with the social distancing and hygiene protocols in place”- Education Minister.

“We must reopen, still with the social distancing and hygiene protocols in place”- Education Minister.

In addressing the Press on Monday, 2nd June 2020 on the matter of the reopening of schools, the Education Minister, stated, “His Excellency the President did direct that the educational institution must start reopening from the 15th of June.  We must reopen, still with the social distancing and hygiene protocols in place”.

The President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Sunday, 31st May 2020, addressed the nation’s enhanced response to the coronavirus pandemic and outlined that there will be the resumption of school for final year students in the junior high, senior high and universities.

 In his words,

“from Monday, 15th June 2020, the decision has been taken, after engagement with the Teachers Union, whose cooperation I salute, to reopen schools and universities to allow for final-year junior high, senior high and university students to resume classes ahead of the conduct of their respective exit examination… JHS 3 classes will comprise a maximum of thirty (30) students; SHS classes a maximum of twenty-five students (25), and University lectures will take place with half the class size”.

The president further stated that “the Minister for Education in the coming days, will outline, in detail, the specific guidelines for the safe reopening of our schools and universities”.

As a response to the president’s directive, the Education minister outlined and further explained some key areas pertaining to the criteria for resumption by demystifying doubts on who is eligible to show up in the schools by saying,

“We must reopen with final year students, meaning those students in any institutions which have their final exams. So if you go to some institutions, there will be people ready to write certificates for NVTI, if you go to some institutions there will be some people wanting to write their final examination or were preparing for their final examination… so it is those classes that government intends reopening schools for to complete their years”.

He further explains,

“When you come to the Ghana Education Service (GES) those classes would include junior high schools students who are about writing their BECE, it will include senior high school students who were just about starting their SSCE exams and final year university students who are about completing their studies”

On the matter of tertiary institutions, he stated that,

“Yesterday around 4 pm, we had a long discussion with all the vice-chancellors as to how to roll their reopening out of public universities. The opening up of the universities that would start on the 15th of June, 2020 is for tertiary institutions, all tertiary institutions can open from the 15th of June and I mean final year students in private and public institutions”.

For six weeks, according to the Minister, tertiary institutions can have academic work, lectures, and revisions, and consequently write their final exams. He cited the opening of schools is to avert and forestall students claiming and attributing their lack of preparedness to proximity issues, complaints of lack of information concerning assignments, and the internet.

Similarly, he addressed foreign students' dilemma, rationalizing,

“Then there’s the subsets, a group who are foreign students.  All the universities are already deploying virtual systems and foreigners are participating, if we’ve discussed it with the Vice Chancellors, if there’s a foreign student who escaped the lockdown…but if one or two were able to leave, we have requested for their passport details to be forwarded to us through their Vice-Chancellors and National Council for Tertiary Education so that if they can fly back the immigration will open the borders for them to come. But if they do come, the will be quarantined for two weeks before they will be allowed to mix and complete their academic work”.