The presence of the COVID-19 Coronal virus in our Educational Institutions is causing a lot of fear and panic in most Ghanaians with most people such as parents, the general society, teachers and students calling for the closure of schools.
What has even aggravated the situation is the recent death of a final year student at the KNUST SHS in Kumasi. The fear of contracting the COVID-19 Corona virus caused both teachers and the authorities of the school to neglect the student and allowed him to die even though he could have been helped.
As the debate continues, there have been daily records of new cases upsurging in the various secondary and tertiary institutions.
The Minister of Education Dr. Mathew Oppoku Prempeh who has just recovered from the virus, is entreating students and teachers and school authorities to remain in school and follow the necessary protocols.
This fear that is engulfing our Educational institutions, no doubt, will have serious consequences on the academic performance of our Third Year students which we do not like to happen if care is not taken.
As the debate continues, and schools are still in session, the students will write their examinations too. The big question is, what should be done so that students come out successfully from the schools with great performance without contracting the COVID-19 Coronal virus neither to increase the spread of the virus in our general society?
The arduous task falls on us all especially the front line players in Education. The following measures are suggested:
- The Role of Government
Even though the government of Ghana through the Ministry of Education, is working to control the fear of the virus and its spread in the schools, more needs to be done by way of constant supply of proper and adequate Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) which means more soap, hand sanitizers, Veronica buckets facemasks for both teachers and students and also provide emergency vans at vantage areas to respond to emergency situations in our schools.
2. The Role of the Ghana Education Service (G.E.S)
The Ghana Education Service should not relent in their efforts to monitor and distribute the government supplied PPEs to schools to enable for effective teaching and learning in our schools. When there is no further record of new cases in our schools, the tension surrounding the pandemic fear will come down and that can psychologically prepare the students for their examinations.
3. School Authorities
All School Authorities by function, play the secondary roles of parents in the school and as parents to the students, they are duty bound to ensure that teachers and students are well taken care of. The School Authorities need to mandate their Counseling Units to consciously prepare the students to be psychologically prepared for their examinations. Specialists could be invited to talk to the students to be calm. When students become calm and focus on their studies, success will be theirs.
Proper records of students' medical history should be kept and much attention should be given to students serious health conditions in order not to lose any brilliant students in our schools.
The PPEs supplied by government should be put to proper and effective use with strict implementation and adherence to the necessary protective protocols as we are not in normal times.
4. The Role of Students and Teachers
Teachers and students, who are the key players in the Educational discourse, need to have these two major goals in common and strife to work hard towards it.
a. Goal 1: Exam success
This major goal of theirs should be their ultimate concern. That by the end, the students will write their examinations and pass with excellence. This will keep them very interactive and they will leave no stone unturned to achieve this purpose.
b. Goal 2: Have a COVID-19 Corona virus free examination.
This has now become the new normal in all endeavour of humanity. The primary purpose of every citizen now, is to go out safe and sound and return the same way. When both teachers and students do not lower their guard and are not skeptical about the virus and are ready to follow the routine protocols to the letter in their daily academic activities thus observing the constant Washing of hands, using the nose masks, hand sanitizers at all recommended areas and activities, and observing regular social distance protocols, the COVID-19 Corona virus will be totally defeated in our schools and our ultimate aim of academic success will be achieved.
5. The Role of WAEC
The West African Examinations Council has a major role in ensuring that the students write their examinations without contracting the COVID-19 Corona virus. As part of their corporate social responsibilities, WAEC needs to ensure that the question papers are not contaminated in any ways by COVID-19. They need to keep the question papers under well sanitized conditions. If care is not taken, opening the question papers folders or envelopes can lead to contamination of the question papers by officials and invigilators.
To complement the government's efforts, WAEC needs to supply enough PPEs for all students and teachers including their officials and invigilators in order to ensure the conduct of a successful Final Yea Examination in all schools concerned in the nation.
Examination halls and centres should be fumigated to ward off any pathogens.
In conclusion, it is the wish of all Ghanaians that our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and neighbours, will have a safe and successful Final Year Examination and come out with flying colours.