The University Student Chamber Ghana, as an SDG advocacy and Student-centred organization, has written to the West African Examination Council calling on them to postpone the upcoming West African Secondary School Certificate Examination and Basic Education Certificate Examination due to the outbreak of the deadly fast-spreading pandemic, CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19). Copies of the said letter were sent to the President of the Republic, Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education.
The reasons as stated in the letter are as follows;
As you may recall, the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, issued an order for the closure of all basic, secondary and tertiary educational institutions both public and private. However, H.E. the President excluded final year students at the Basic and Secondary levels due to the external examinations they have to sit for, organized by WAEC.
Considering the highly infectious nature of the COVID-19, we believe the purpose of the closure of schools by the President will not be fully served with the final year students still being in school. Over 450,000 students are expected to sit for this year's WASSCE, which begins in less than two weeks (30th March 2020). The BECE, which also commences in about three months with the expectation of over 510,000 students sitting for it. In effect, over 960,000 students will be going about their normal school activities.
“Researchers say any interaction between two people within 10 feet of each other has the potential to spread infections, such as influenza, common colds, whooping cough, via droplets transmitted by sneezing, coughing, or direct contact” (Warner). With knowledge of the crowded nature of our classrooms especially in public schools, coupled with how students engage in thousands of social interactions, Ghana will be recording astronomical numbers of galloping confirmed cases of COVID-19 should just one final year student contract it.
We are also of the view that the lives of the teachers who are preparing these final year students have been endangered with the current arrangement because of the upcoming WASSCE and BECE. Typical Ghanaian Staff Common Rooms for public Senior High Schools are usually crowded with teachers, which will facilitate the fast spread of COVID-19. These are teachers who made all of us who we are today, how then and for what reason, should we risk their lives?