The Ghana Education Service (GES) has been criticised over a letter requesting proposals for reopening of schools in the country amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Four teacher Unions – GNAT, NAGRAT, TEWU and CCT said at a joint press conference that the GES letter, which suggests that the body has launched a stakeholder consultation to provide President Akufo-Addo with measures to be taken ahead of a possible reopening of all basic and senior high schools, is uncalled for.
Schools have been on break since March this year after the President’s first address to the nation on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The President, in his recent address, extended the ban on all public gatherings which include school activities, to the end of May, indicating that there will be a review.
In view of this, the GES, in a letter dated 13 May 2020, signed by Director-General, Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, urged all stakeholders, including the leadership of the teacher bodies, to contribute their ideas on how the schools can ensure safety and maximum security if pupils are allowed to resume lessons.
But the teacher unions think this is misplaced.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra, Mr Thomas Musah, the General Secretary of GNAT, said: “This particular letter, which has come out, is creating fear and panic among the rank and file of our members. Currently, the [COVID-19] figures we have is 5,735 with 29 deaths and when people are looking at these particular figures, certainly, it will create fear and panic among them.
“We’re talking about a situation where when a teacher is going to school, the teacher will board trotro and you have certain children in a particular class coming from all walks of life. The question is, do we know the status of all the teachers who will be going to the schools? Have they been tested? The children, have they been tested? These are fundamental issues we should all establish. If we don’t do that and we start talking of reopening at this particular moment, the question is why won’t we wait for the President to come and speak and we take it up from there. Schools or educational facilities are not the only places closed down…”