Closing schools not best option, says GES

Minister of Education, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh

As calls from parents and individuals intensify for government to shut down schools for fear of the spread of Covid-19, the Director-General (DG) of the Ghana Education Service (GES), Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, insists doing so will be disastrous for the nation.

He has explained that keeping the students in schools is the best option, as health experts have advised against sending the over 550,000 population student home, saying that could lead to a rapid rise in cases.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, the GES DG said: “Closure of schools, from the health point of view, we believe, is not the best option. It is best we keep them in schools because if we decide to let them go into the larger society, then we might as well close down the whole country…from what we have been told, they are asymptomatic so they are able to go about their studies.”

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Call for closure

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), in its last bi-weekly press conference on Monday, urged parents to take their wards out of the various secondary schools to protect them against Covid-19.

According to the opposition party, President Nana Akufo-Addo’s decision to reopen school, despite the increase in Covid-19, is a clear indication of where his interest lies.

Citing the closure of some key institutions, including the Finance Ministry, due to the outbreak of the virus, the NDC argued that the government is rather interested in protecting adults than young school children.

Examination and isolation

However, touching on the fate of the students in isolation centres, as the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) draws nigh, Prof Opoku-Amankwa said feedback from health experts suggest that by the end of the fourth week, the students should be able to join their colleagues for the examination.

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“We are hoping, from what the health experts tell us, that when they begin the exams, which is three to four weeks away, these issues will have subsided and they will come and join their colleagues,” he said.

“In the worst scenario, where they are not able to join their colleagues, there are various options that are available for them…in this case… we will make an arrangement with WAEC for them to be able to write and when that happens, that cost will still be borne by the government,” Prof Opoku-Amankwa assured.

Case count

Taking his turn at the press briefing, the Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Badu Sarkodie, revealed that 264 new infections of Covid-19 has pushed Ghana’s cases to 25,252.

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The new cases were confirmed in 26 districts in six regions.

While the number of deaths stands at 139, figures for recovered and discharged persons have risen to 21,391, leaving active cases at 3,716


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