"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championship" (Michael Jordan).
Educational Workers Connect, an educational Thinktank has read with utter shock and dismay a press release by the Minister of Education, Hon. Matthew Opoku Prempeh on 19th August 2020 who has inaugurated a 10- member committee in Accra ostensibly to deliberate and find modalities towards the reopening of schools at the pre-tertiary level.
According to the release, the committee, as part of its terms of reference, is to advise the president on modalities to put in place to enable the schools to reopen as stated above.
This follows the address to the nation by President Akufo-Addo on Sunday 16th August 2020, where the president indicated clearly government's intentions to consider the reopening of schools following the shutdown of the schools in March, 2020 due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The committee, according to the press release is chaired by Prof. Dominic Fobih, a former Minister of Education and currently the chairman of the GETFund Board of Trustees.
The other members are;
- Mr. Michael Nsowah ~ Chair, GES Council
- Prof. Kwasi Opoku Amankwa ~ Director-General, GES
- Mr. Anthony Boateng ~ Deputy Director-General (M & S), GES
- Dr. Kwabena Tandoh ~ Deputy Director-General (Q & A), GES
- Mrs. Kate Appiah-Pinkrah ~ Director, Pre-Tertiary, MoE
- Mr. Madeez Adamu Issah ~ Rep, UNICEF
- Mr. I. K Mensah ~ Rep, Private Schools
- Nana Kwasi Amoako ~ P.T.A Chair, Accra Girls SHS
- Mrs. Patty Assan ~ Director, Schools and Instructions
The committee is expected to report to the Minister on Monday 21st September 2020 with its recommendations.
The composition of the committee, Educational Workers Connect considers incomplete and problematic.
As, a Think Tank, we are of the firm conviction that, issues concerning education in general and in this specific case, the reopening of the schools cannot be done without the invaluable inputs by our hardworking teachers represented by their teacher unions. We, therefore, consider the composition of this committee incomplete and inappropriate.
We are also at a loss why this committee is without a representative from the health sector, notably the GMA knowing too well that, we are intending to reopen the schools still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This decision to exclude these categories of experts is mind-boggling and incomprehensible.
Were we not told times without number that the decision to close down the schools was based on the expert advise from health experts? So what has changed?
Again, it beats every logic and reasoning on how this committee was composed without any representative by the teacher unions. Is this once again a testimony of governments across the board disregard and contempt for our committed teachers?
We want to once again put on record that, our education is incomplete without the Ghanaian teachers. They are the bedrock of our education and therefore cannot be sidelined in critical issues regarding education.
They are the pillars of nation-building process because they help to influence the next generation to become morally, socially and psychologically responsible citizens in our societies and by extension, the nation.
They trigger visions, develop building blocks, and catalyze actions to build the world to come.
It is, therefore, worrying to observe how in spite of all the invaluable roles that the teachers play as captured above, they seem to be left out in critical decision-making process regarding education.
We also consider it unfathomable how the chairman of the National PTA is left out in this committee and yet the chairman of the PTA of Accra Senior High Girls is part of the committee.
We are asking how representative will his views be since he is representing just an association of a specific school?
This decision again we also consider disrespectful to the leadership of the National PTA which must be checked now. We want to state categorically that, we are not in any way questioning the integrity and experience of the men and women in the committee.
We are, therefore, by this statement, calling on the Minister of Education to expand the committee in order to make room for health experts, teacher unions and some national PTA Executives to join the members of the committee to make it complete.
Anything short of these useful suggestions is likely to compromise the outcome of the committee.
Let us remember that, "where there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved". (Mattie Stepank)
Daniel Yao Agbezudor