The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic facing the world has forced over 124 countries to close schools as at 22nd March 2020 with an estimated 1.25 billion learners from pre-primary to tertiary education being affected.
On March 12, 2020, Ghana recorded its first two cases of COVID-19. The President of the Republic of Ghana on 15th March 2020, announced a series of measures to curtail the spread of the virus in Ghana. The actions taken by government were geared towards reducing the spread of the virus by instituting social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols. The President directed the closure of schools beginning March 16, 2020. The initial school closure directives allowed final year students in both Junior High School (JHS 3) and Senior High Schools (SHS 3) to continue attending school to prepare for their exams with schools ensuring that social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols where observed. Subsequently, on March 23, 2020 following West African Examinations Council’s (WAEC) decision to indefinitely postpone West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), the Ghana Education Service directed schools to release the JHS 3 and SHS 3 students to go home until the President’s directives were reversed.
Ghana’s Case count has increased since the two cases were announced on March 12, 2020 to 132 as at 26th March 2020.
During the President’s address to the nation and the directives to close all schools, the President also directed the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Communication to ensure that they rollout distance and remote learning programs to all students. In response, the Hon. Minister for Education constituted a team to propose a plan for all levels of education. The team comprised representatives from the Ministry of Education (MoE), Ghana Education Service (GES), National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA), Ghana Library Authority (GhLA), Center for National Distance Learning and Open Schooling (CENDLOS), National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the University of Ghana (UoG).
This proposal is a forecasting of the associated risk and responses to be taken to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana. The Ministry of Education and its relevant agencies that are responding to the COVID-19 are guided by these proposals and in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service which is leading the coordinated national response.All public and private schools at all levels have been closed since March 16, 2020 as a measure to curb the potential spread of the coronavirus in Ghana until further notice. The closure has affected approximately 9.2 million learners from KG – SHS and about 500,000 tertiary learners. Closure of schools disrupt the academic calendar affecting teaching and learning and especially impacting negatively low performing students.
People who are affected by the virus and are able to recover from it might face issues of stigmatisation at the school level. There might be cases where teachers and classmates of recovered persons will worry about close contact with such persons affected for fear of the unknown. This can sometimes lead to drop outs by individuals due to the stigma.
Content created and supplied by: RichGeorge (via Opera News )