The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has kicked against the Government’s decision to keep senior high students in school while some second cycle institutions across the country have began recording COVID-19 infections among students and teachers.
There was chaos at Accra Girls Senior High School over the weekend after six (6) students tested positive for the virus and were rushed to government’s isolation centres.
The agitation among the freightened students, who believe the virus can easily spread easily among them, comes a few weeks after schools were reopened for final year students to prepare for their exit examination.
Power FM news sources indicate that Mfantsipim School in cape Coast, Prang SHS in Prang in the Bono East region, Wesley Grammar and Odogorno SHS all in Accra have recorded cases of COVID-19.
The situation has heightened fears among parents and guardians most of whom had raised red flags over President Akufo-Addo’s decision to reopen school last month.
But reacting to the agitations among students who are calling for schools to be closed down, the deputy NDC Director of International Affairs, Fred Agbenyo condemned the Akufo-Addo government for “leaving the schools to their fate.”
The NDC spokesman said the reopening of the schools at at time the country’s Coronavirus case count keep rising was not the best, stressing that the infection among the students could be overwhelming.
“I was dismayed after watching a video of the students at Accra Girls agitating to return home. The students are freightened and I believe they can’t write the examination and pass,” he told Inside Politics host Tuesday afternoon.
“The panic and fear among them are saddening, so how do they get the peace of mind and sit the exams and pass?” he quizzed.
Prior to the reopening, President Akufo-Addo announced that the government had prepared grounds for the students’ arrival such that any unforseen circumstance could be dealt with.
However, Agbenyo disputed the claim and explained that he and other parents were extremely worried about how their wards are being handled poorly back at school.
“The president doesn’t care about the welfare of these students. This is because he wants them to write the exams so he can boast that students who were enrolled under his free SHS policy have completed school. He [President Akufo-Addo] does not care about the risky conditions surrounding their stay in school,” he fumed.
It will be recalled that during his last address to the nation on how his government was dealing with the virus, Akufo-Addo said the students would be called ‘Akufo-Addo graduates.”
But Agbenyo believes the remarks of the President were reckless and his decision to reopen schools would just “waste everybody’s time.”
“What is an exam when you have lives to save in the wake of this COVID-19?” he quizzed and added, “We all have kids and we won’t be happy to hear they are dying in schools because of someone’s penchant to hold on to power at all cost”
“Parents are not allowed to see their kids. If this is not wickedness then I don’t know what it is. And the system is such that teachers can’t speak up for fear of being victimized,” he bemoaned.
“Majority of the students ar KNUST and Legon are writing their exams at home. So why do we allow our kids to go through this torture in schools just because somebody wants to do politics,” he added.
“President Akufo-Addo doesn’t care about the lives of Ghanaians except how to hold on to power. The government is only interested in scoring political points with the reopening of schools under the guise of getting them to write their final exam,” Agbenyo noted.
Education Ministry’s Response.
This comes at a time the Education Ministry has said it will not close schools despite the concerns by parents and teachers to tackle the situation.
Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Adutwum at a press conference organized by the Information Ministry on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 said a total of 684 persons who came into contact with some eight persons who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Accra Girls Senior High School had been identified by health officials.
Aside the six students who are ill, a teacher and his spouse have also tested positive for COVID-19 in the Accra Girls SHS.
But Dr. Adutwum allayed the fears of the parents and explained that the infected persons had been “immediately isolated and taken care off and parents were informed to bring down the anxiety.”
“I can understand why some parents went to the school to take their children home, but taking your child away at this point is not a very good option,” he stated and added counsellors have been brought on board to help calm students and pave way for teaching and learning to continue.
“We understand that, in the midst of all the anxiety, it is difficult for students to learn, but counsellors are on-site now looking at ways that they can help the students recompose themselves and begin the preparations ahead,” he assured.
By Henryson Okrah/myxyzonline.com