17.03.2020 Opinion

Too Early In The Day: Closure Of First And Second Cycle Schools

By Josephine Mensah
Too Early In The Day: Closure Of First And Second Cycle Schools
LISTEN MAR 17, 2020

For me, the closure of schools has come too early. What is the rationale for the closure of all Secondary and Basic Schools in the country on the outbreak coronavirus pandemic?

Obviously, it is to reduce or eliminate the spread of coronavirus. The government has acted in a rush and has indirectly heightened tension, fear, and panic in the system.

There should have been a consultative forum by all stakeholders: GES, GNAPS, MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, etc on the matter and in reaching a consensus for the closure of schools by defining a clear roadmap for the schools.

A systematic closure could have been helpful starting from the tertiary schools then trickle down to the primary schools.

Although, some schools may be exposed to the virus due to the intake of expatriates. However, the directive for the closure of the schools means nothing when the government is not looking at the intensifying campaign on good personal hygiene and other precautionary measures.

Indeed, the government must make a deliberate effort by providing and distributing other preventive and educational materials for the children.

The media must also be charged to have educational programmes for both the 1st and 2nd cycles schools in finding the right balance as children are at home.

The government could have been more decisive and efficient by giving a timeline in reviewing its directive.

In all the cases and across the globe, children are said to be less vulnerable to the coronavirus and hence unfolding events could have to have a clear message on when secondary and primary schools are to be closed.

In the public schools from primary to secondary, govt absorb all the fees and hence, do not have the worry of salary payments, statutory payments, and other expenses.

The schools run on the disbursement funds from the government. On the other hand, private schools' main source of revenue collection is hampered and truncated.

The collection of all fees is seized and hence, has a damning consequence on the schools. How do we pay our staff and other operational costs?

This is how pitiful the narrative is in the private school's sector. The government has left all of us in a state of incommunicado on when schools will reopen and recall.

At this period, private schools will feel the heat on how to pay the staff and other overheads.

So far and in the case of Ghana, people who have tested positive all came through our borders or imported.

The government must strengthen its surveillance, screening and monitoring role and perform the test on allowing people whether national or expatriate who come into the country.

As a country, we must be overwhelmed by this reality. Proactivity doesn't mean the closure of schools or distance isolation.

We must go beyond rhetorics and see bold actions in building many more isolating centres, get more ventilators, have live-saving machines, train more medical personnel and support the citizenry with teaching materials and other preventive tools.

The most effective way of combating this pandemic is finding ways to prevent the transmission.

What you may not know is that Ghana doesn't have the capacity to contain more of the shortfalls if the shutdown continues for long.

We must also cooperate with officials in their tracing contacts to prevent the rate of infection.

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