All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG), a pre-tertiary teacher union in Ghana has described the call by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), the National Council for Parent Teacher Association (PTA), some media personnel among others as illogical, misplaced and premature.
According to the Union, this is not the time to be calling for a re-closure of schools since all the parties advocating for that have been duly consulted by the Ghana Education Service and Ministry of Education ahead of the reopening of schools.
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The leadership of All Teachers Alliance Ghana (TTAG), in a press statement said “In the midst of soaring numbers of the positive cases of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, fears of many people are rising. Some have attributed it to much neglect by Ghanaians who think the protocols in place are albatross on their necks.”
“Based on these fears, the opposition NDC, the National Council for PTA and some renowned media personnel and stations are calling for re-closure of schools citing incidence of reported cases in not less than ten schools. So far, Accra Girls SHS stands tall in the rising numbers of the Covid 19 cases after a report of three people who earlier reported positive to the virus. After contact tracing it became evident that some hundred residents of the school including teachers had contracted the virus. Aside Accra Girls other renowned schools in the Western Region such as the Archbishop Porter Girls had also reported similar occurrences.” They argued.
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The Union indicated that, “We are all concerned about the health of our school children and the fact that we cannot trade life with school examination. Despite the concerns, it is obvious to note that the call to close schools in the warm up to the writing of the WASSCE in particular, is highly misplaced, incongruous and illogical. The reopening of schools was done after several considerations from medical experts and the government. All stakeholders were consulted and possible ways and means were tabled. During this period, all the parties calling for the re-closure of schools could not raise their concerns until now that the children had gained grounds in their various schools.”
The National President of ATAG Mr. Isaac Ofori further argued that, “In the first place, it is very important for us all to understand that Ghana’s education is on the blink of collapse if we think the coronavirus should continue to dictate our pace as a nation. Two final year batches of students are in dilemma and the future consequences of their inability to write their final exam is very dire. We do not have the luxury of pretending we cannot even help ourselves in such difficult times as a country. Saving their education is equally saving their lives and their future as well.”
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Besides, there are over four hundred thousand students’ presently in schools and only a handful of them have recorded positive cases. The chances drawn from this premise do not suggest closure of schools. The government is working hard to ensure the safety of all school children who have recorded positive cases and I believe the students’ concern would be given the utmost priority of treatment they deserve in order for them to recover. As a country we are recording more cases of recovery and I believe that it is a greater sign of a major breakthrough in the last few months when the virus took a center stage in Ghana.
The Union said, Ghanaians must also be careful as a country the way and manner we play politics with serious issues. NDC as an opposition party could not offer any alternative of safeguarding the greater health of our school children but rather had taken the stance of fueling the fears of parents over the apparent awful situation. The political undertone had taken too much toll on the discussions so far and the Union believes it is about time to allay the fear of parents rather fueling it.
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Parents must understand that should the government decide to recall the children home, they will live to face the future consequences of their call for re-closure of schools. The covid-19 had become a community situational virus and it does not matter wherever you find yourself, you could contract it. It is a matter of time we allay our fears and learn to live with every situation positively as a country rather embracing fear and panic which could take away our common sense and reasoning. Parents must also accept that the government does not have further options for their children’s future examination should this year’s own be cancelled.
Mr. Isaac Ofori said “he believes a lot is being done to ensure the safety of school children and we must support the government to ensure that no child dies from testing positive for the virus. We are in difficult times and our chances of survival are far greater than we can think. Everything will be fine with us as a country. God bless our homeland Ghana!”
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Meanwhile, other four Pre-Tertiary Teacher Unions namely, Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers ( NAGRAT), Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT-GH) and Teacher Education Workers Union (TEWU) has earlier, in a joint press statement called on government through stakeholders in education to immediately close schools to protect the lives of students and teachers.