The Minority in Parliament has charged government to prioritize the lives of students and postponed their exit examinations to ensure their safety.
Sick or dead students, the Minority warned, cannot write exams hence the need to protect students from high risks of exposure by closing down schools and not to wait until it is too late to do anything.
Deputy Ranking Member on the Education Committee of Parliament and MP for Builsa South, Dr Clement Apaak, who made the call, indicated that immediate action is required in the light of the increased number of COVID-19 cases in the country as well as infections recorded among students in some schools.
He noted that Ghana’s case count has already surpassed 21,000 with individuals and institutions making various comments over the motivation to continue to have final year students of Senior and Junior High Schools in school.
According to him, assurances from the President and Ministers to dampen fears amid the deadly virus has failed to inspire confidence because the measures instituted ahead of the reopening of schools have failed to offer the needed protection.
“At the time President Akufo-Addo announced the easing of measures ahead of reopening of these schools to allow the final year students take their exit exams, Ghana’s case count stood at 8,070.”
“Since that announcement about a month ago, over 12,000 COVID-19 cases have been recorded, which gives clear indication of the mass community spreading of the deadly virus,” Dr Apaak stated.
The fears of Ghanaians and parents in particular, he said, have heightened after the Ministers of Health and Education tested positive for the virus, which led to directives of President Akufo-Addo suspending Cabinet meetings indefinitely to mitigate the spread of the virus.
He lamented that while Ghana’s cases are on the rise, the Government is rather engaging in activities that will ruin all the safety measures being advised to observe if the fight against this virus is to succeed.
Citing the reports of the spread of the virus in Accra High Girls Senior School and other secondary schools, Dr. Apaak warned that rushing to isolate infected students exposes government’s failure in fulfil the assurances President Akufo-Addo gave Ghanaians.
“Who knows how many have come into contact with infected persons who may not know their status if our president with all at his disposal, could be exposed to such a risk,” he quizzed?
He appealed to the government to reconsider keeping the schools opened and warned there is a choice of reducing such high risk by closing these schools for a much extended period until it is established the virus has been contained, which would reflect on the cases per day.
The government, Ministry of Education, the Teacher Unions and Civil Society Organizations, he said, must get back to the table with the help of medical experts, re-examine the situation at hand, and make amends in the initial decisions to reopen the schools.
He stressed that if the real motive to reopen schools is for final year students to prepare to write their final examinations, then a second look at this motive is warranted in the face of rising infections and reported cases in some schools.