The Founder and President of the Ashesi University, Patrick Awuah, has kicked against reopening of schools at a time Ghana’s cases keep rising.
Ghana’s coronavirus cases are racing to the 7,000-mark with 2, 097 recoveries and 32 deaths.
Without a clear roadmap towards containment and precise forecast when the disease will be over, Mr Awuah feared a return to schools would escalate the problem.
“I will say that opening now is very difficult, and probably should not be attempted,” he stated.
Mr Awuah was part of a virtual panel discussion on the impact on COVID-19 on education on Joy Prime.
He suggested to the government to assume “that we have lost the third term of the academic year.”
He proposed scoring third-year Senior High School students with their continuous assessment for their certificates instead of the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
He also advised the authorities to desist from forcing efforts to complete the academic year, but to take the next few months off as well.
Contributing to the discussion, the former Rector of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Professor Stephen Adei, proposed deferments for continuing students and separate interventions for final year students.
For him, the final year students could resume under strict COVID-19 protocols.
“We must distinguish between the final years and the other students. I think that we should not rush with the non – final year students. I think even if they have to start the next academic year in January, we can manage it,” he said.
“If we go to secondary schools, only final years are coming,” he added.
The former Education Minister, Professor Jane Nana Opoku-Agyemang, suggested intensive personal hygiene measures and improved sanitation in schools.
She lamented the lack of lavatories in basic schools, which serve the majority of Ghanaians due to affordability.
Educational associations such as NAGRAT have also kicked against returning to the classroom without the protection of teachers and pupils.
President Nana Akufo-Addo has hinted easing social gathering restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which could see students back in schools.