The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) are calling on government to close down schools and suspend the forthcoming West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) with immediate effect.
President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu made the call on Asempa FM Saturday morning, saying that the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases across the country and in some of the schools calls for immediate closure of schools and suspension of the WASSCE.
When Ghana was hit by COVID-19 in March, government closed down all schools. But in June, final-year students at both SHS and JHS levels, plus the gold track category of students in SHS were made to return to school.
Since their return, there have been some COVID-19 cases recorded in some schools, particularly Accra Girls School, but government insists that is not enough reason to close down schools again, saying that it is rather better to contain the student in school.
But Angel Carbonu said, as president of NAGRAT, he has representatives in every secondary school in the country so he has updated information about what is happening on every campus as far as COVID-19 is concerned.
“Per the information available to me I have no doubt in my mind that government needs to close down the schools immediately and let the kids go home for the safety of both the students and the teachers,” he said.
He noted that Kenya has closed down schools till 2021, adding that when Ebola hit Africa, several countries closed down schools indefinitely until they were sure the disease was contained.
Angel Carbonu said COVID-19 is known to even spread faster than Ebola and yet the Ghana government seem to be creating the impression that the disease is under control, even though the daily case counts prove otherwise.
“I find it very contradictory when government says COVID-19 is here to stay so we should go about our normal lives – if it is here to stay then we should set aside all the safety protocols like hand washing, wearing face mask, using hand sanitizers and all that, and just allow the disease to run free.
“To the extent that we find it necessary to take precautionary measures we must also close down schools and suspend the WASSCE for the safety of our students and teachers,” he argued.
Angel Carbonu said even though the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has set a date for WASSCE, that date is not cast in stone and it not a “holy creed” that cannot be broken, so Ghana can refuse to write the exams like Nigeria has done until there is a clear sign that it is safe to do so.
He hinted that if government insists on going ahead with keeping students in school and preparing them for WASSCE, the teacher will advise themselves.