It is unsafe to reopen schools now -CSOs Platform on SDGs

The CSOs Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Sub-Platform 4 has cautioned the government against its decision to reopen schools.

The Platform says the decision is unsafe adding that the exponential increase in the COVID-19 cases should discourage the government from taking that decision.

”For the avoidance of doubt, we consider the exponential increase in COVID-19 cases to at least serve as evidence to discourage any government official or agency to make proposals towards reopening of schools in Ghana. Also, it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand why GES is in a haste to reopen schools at a time Ghana Health Service (GHS) is announcing very high numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country as a result of community spread,” the statement which was issued by the Communication Directorate said.

In their view, the ”government should take action and retool and rehabilitate existing public schools to make them safe for children before schools are reopened. Private school owners should be guided to implement same in the interest of public health and safety.”

It added: ”In order not to compromise the educational needs of Ghanaian children due to school closures, we recommend that: E-learning platforms and centres should be established in communities including rural areas to ensuring inclusivity.”

Read the full statement below

20th May, 2020

*PRESS STATEMENT*

For Immediate Release

*It is unsafe to reopen schools now -CSOs Platform on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).*

The CSOs Platform on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Sub-Platform 4 (SDG4) has observed with deep worry the proposed schools reopening contained in a letter dated 13th May, 2020 written by the Director General of Ghana Education Service (GES), Prof. Kwasi Opoku Amankwa which is on circulation on various social media platforms calling for inputs from educational stakeholders.

For the avoidance of doubt, we consider the exponential increase in COVID-19 cases to at least serve as evidence to discourage any government official or agency to make proposals towards reopening of schools in Ghana. Also, it is becoming increasingly difficult to understand why GES is in a haste to reopen schools at a time Ghana Health Service (GHS) is announcing very high numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country as a result of community spread.

The frustrations and anxiety of most parents, guardians, teachers, students and education advocates on the possible spread of the dreaded virus when schools are reopened cannot be downplayed. Of much concern is the huge number of pupils per class. Our question however is how prepared is GES in the area of infrastructure, provision of veronica buckets, hand sanitizers, nose masks, temperature guns, and other toiletries needed to fight the COVID-19 infestation in schools? Looking under the covers of GES, we can emphatically say without any scintilla of doubt that they are not prepared to mitigate the spread of the virus in schools. The said proposal to reopen schools could be best described as an avenue to risk the health of our children in these trying times of our existence where the novel coronavirus cases are on sharp increase on daily basis without a vaccine or a possible cure.

As a key stakeholder in the educational sector advocating for the achievement of the global goals especially SDG4, which is hinged on inclusivity, accessibility and quality education for all, we are respectfully calling on GES and the Minister of Education to rescind their decision to reopen schools too soon for it is dangerous.

In order not to compromise the educational needs of Ghanaian children due to school closures, we recommend that: 
1. E-learning platforms and centres should be established in communities including rural areas to ensuring inclusivity.

2. Government should take action and retool and rehabilitate existing public schools to make them safe for children before schools are reopened. Private school owners should be guided to implement same in the interest of public health and safety.

Issued by: Communication Directorate, SDG4.

For Interviews Contact: 
Mrs. Joyce Larnyo, CONVENER, SDG4
0200221014

Mr. Peter Bismark-0244169361

Cc:
1. Minister of Education, Accra-Ghana
2. Director General of Ghana Education Service (GES)
3. Director of Public Relations, GES
4. Advisor to the President on Health, Jubilee House, Accra.
5. Director General of Ghana Health Service.
6. All Media Houses

By: Rashid Obodai Provencal

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