Minister for Education Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh

Minister of Education Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh has stated that closing down schools because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is currently not an option.

According to him, students are much protected in the school environment than allowing them to stay at home where they could fall victim to dangerous social vices like drugs and teenage pregnancies.

He argued that students who tested positive for the virus did not get infected while in school but brought the disease from their various homes.

Speaking on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo show with Kwami Sefa Kayi yesterday, the Education Minister questioned whether isolating and quarantining students in school is not a better option than at home where this process is almost impossible.

He argued that should teachers and Head teachers comply with all the containment measures that have been put in place by the government prior to the reopening of the school, the situation would be successfully controlled.

“It is very easy to shut down the schools but till when? Those who have close down schools around the world are contemplating days of reopening.

“The Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) have to map the schools and provide directives of what to do in case of emergencies and how the students should handle themselves while in school,” he added.

Dr Opoku Prempeh questioned where the government would derive revenue to pay teachers if it is compelled to keep the schools shut indefinitely.

“Who should go and work at the ports and generate revenue for the government to come and pay you?”

“If because of COVID people are refusing to go to work, who should work and generate revenue so that you would be paid,” he quizzed?

He stressed that the insistence for people to return to work does not mean they should not protect and secure their safety against the disease.

He questioned whether if a person tests positive for the coronavirus and is treated and discharged they would not go back to work anymore.

COVID-19 warning 

The Education Minister warned Ghanaians to take the disease seriously because it is real and wreaking havoc across the world, stressing that many people are indeed dying from the COVID-19.

He disclosed that the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS) is full of COVID-19 patients.

According to him, even though he was lucky not to have been admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), many patients whose conditions deteriorated and were transferred to the ICU never made it back.

He condemned those playing politics with the coronavirus and stressed the disease is no respecter of persons and can affect any and every one.

“A disease that has sent England’s Prince Charles to the ICU; affected Prime Ministers and many very powerful and famous people across the world, is a very serious matter,” he stated.

Dr Opoku Prempeh stated that he could not fathom where he got infected by the disease and indicated he did not experience most of the symptoms associated with the disease but warned it was not a good experience.

He urged Ghanaians to take their personal safety seriously and avoid unnecessary movements while strictly adhering to the safety protocols of washing hands, using sanitizers, and observing physical distancing.