The news Dean of the Faculty of Education, University for Development (UDS), Dr Ibrahim M. Gunu

A Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education of the University for Development (UDS), Dr Ibrahim M. Gunu has called on the various Teacher Unions in Ghana not to take political stands on the reopening of schools in the country.

In an elaborated epistle written, Dr Ibrahim M. Gunu said the issue of reopening schools should not be politicized as in his view has sadly become in Ghana where some people will assume it is a bad idea simply because President Nana Akufo-Addo proposed it.   

Read full the statement:  

Dr. Ibrahim M. Gunu (Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, University for Development Studies)

Press 1

What are the psychological effects of the WASSCE Exam on the students?

 It can be mentioned that the world has been under a lockdown for some time now as a result of COVID-19.

 Globally, schools, colleges and universities were closed as a result of the fear of spread of the disease.

 The continuous delay in reopening schools, colleges, and universities across the country, generated many psychological effects on students, which can be expressed as anxiety, fear, worry, and even trauma, among others.

 In search of normalcy regarding teaching and learning in Ghanaian Schools, Colleges and Universities, the government of Ghana provided guidelines and support for these institutions. Which I think was a good leadership direction.

 Based on the guidelines, Universities in Ghana resorted to remote instruction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 It must be mentioned that, the end of the school year in Ghana is associated with examinations. These are often used to select or certify students as they move from one level of the education system to the next or into the workforce.

 Concerns regarding the question of what it means to have spent years working towards an exam or a degree only to graduate in one of the longest waiting periods became an issue.

 Subsequently, final year students were recalled to take their examination in the universities, colleges and schools (JHS and SHS).

 Final year students in the colleges of education and some universities have successfully finished their final examinations.

 It is important to mention that final year students participating in examination is a good idea.

 In my opinion, it will reduce the unbearable psychological pressure on them.

Appeal

I also want to appeal to:

 GES in collaboration with Ghana Health Service to ensure continuous observance of health protocols in schools in order to contain the spread of the COVID19.

 This unprecedented crisis calls for a collaborative work.

 Also, parents, teachers, politicians and other significant stakeholders should support the students and stop creating fear and panic as this will not support the growth and development of the nation.

Press 2: reopening of basic schools in low risky areas

 I wish to thank the government for taking the needed steps to ensure normalcy in our schools (JHS and SHS), Colleges and Universities in Ghana.

 I also want to commend government for the continuous engagement of significant stakeholders in the education sector and to maintain that government should at least reopen basic schools in low risky areas in Ghana by September, 2020.

Whilst appreciating the fact that:

  • Many parents are scared
  • Schools are somehow crowded
  • The thinking that small children may not observe social distancing
  • cases are rising
  • and many other examples  

 We equal need to know that recoveries are high and the cost of missing school is huge:

  • Children learn less, and lose the habit of learning.
  • In some parts of Ghana if schools are not reopened, students may give up their studies and start work or get married.
  • Parents who have nowhere to drop their children struggle to go to work.
  • Children are more likely going to suffer abuse, malnutrition and poor mental health.

 In this direction, I suggest that GES in collaboration with Ghana Health Service should ensure continuous observance of health protocols in schools.

 Tips for minimizing the risks.

  • The most vulnerable teachers should stay at home.
  • Reduced class sizes.
  • Reduced contact hours for a start.
  • Reorganization of timetables to prevent crowding at school gates.
  • Compulsory wearing of masks.
  • Separating desks from each with recommended spacing dimension

 We need to know that children cannot wait that long

Appeal

 On this note, I want to suggest to government of Ghana to allow continuing students in grades 1-8 (Primary 1 to JHS2) to be promoted to the next grade without taking examinations.

 However, remedial measures should be put in place to support the students.

 We should avoid a situation where the entire academic year will be cancelled.

 The reopening schools should not be a partisan issue, as it has sadly become in Ghana, where some people will assume it is a bad idea simply because President Akufo-Addo proposes it.

The teacher unions should not take political stands; they should work with the government to support our children in the schools.

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