President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has sent his best wishes to the 313,837 final year Senior High School (SHS) students who are writing their final examinations from today, July 20, 2020.

The West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), which is both for selection to tertiary institutions and for certification, commences today, almost four-weeks after the final year SHS students returned to school on June 22.

This followed months of homestay due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 and the government’s measures to curb the spread of the disease.

In a message, President Akufo-Addo said, “I wish all the students the best of luck and Godspeed in their examination”.

He urged all those who would be associated with the 2020 WASSCE to observe the set rules for hygiene and social distancing during the period to prevent COVID-19 spread.

“Just as has been done over the course of the last four weeks, since their return to school, I continue to urge everyone associated with the conduct of this year’s WASSCE, that is teaching and non-teaching staff, invigilators and students, to abide by the enhanced hygiene, mask wearing and social distancing protocols they have become accustomed to.

“These continue to remain our weapons in the fight to defeat COVID-19”, President Akufo-Addo added.

He pointed out that in spite of the pandemic, no effort should be spared to guarantee the future prospects of the youth, as that would preserve the collective future of the country.

“Every Ghanaian acknowledges that education is the key to the future of our country…We, therefore, must do everything possible, even in the midst of a pandemic, to guarantee the prospects of our youth, protect their potential and, thereby, help preserve our collective future,” he said.

NDC to parents

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) had advised parents to withdraw their children from secondary schools in order to protect them from COVID-19.

The party wondered why government institutions like the head offices of the Ministry of Finance, Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation (BOST) and COCOBOD shutdown while schools remained opened.

At one of their numerous news conferences, NDC’s National Communication Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, claimed the interest of President Akufo-Addo was the upcoming general election and not the safety of students.

He therefore called on parents to take their destinies into their own hands by withdrawing their wards from schools.

“If parents don’t take their own destinies and that of their children into their hands and go into those schools and bring their children into their homes, they will close down the schools after,” Mr. Gyamfi said.

Government’s response

Government reminded parents that it was better for the students to stay at school for their final WASSCE examination since it was safer in the schools than the various communities in the country.

President Akufo-Addo announced the easing of restrictions on public gathering and allowed schools to be reopened.

He however directed the stakeholders in the education sector, the schools and students to continually adhere to the health protocols to curb the spread of the pandemic.

As part of measures to safeguard the students, teachers and administrators of the various schools, all the schools were fumigated.

Government also provided PPE including masks, alcohol-based hand sanitisers, veronica buckets for handwashing under running water among others worth millions of Ghana cedis.

President Akufo-Addo in his 11th address on measures his administration was putting in place to combat Coronavirus pandemic, announced the reopening of the schools.

“From tomorrow, Monday, 15th June, the last batch of institutions in this phased approach, our educational institutions, will begin to re-open, with final year students in our tertiary colleges and universities returning to school to prepare for and take their exit examinations.

“As has been stated, final year senior high school (SHS 3) students, together with SHS 2 Gold Track students, will resume on 22nd June; and final year junior high school (JHS 3) students, the week after, on 29th June”, President Akufo-Addo pointed out.