President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Teacher Unions threaten to defy President over schools reopening

Pre-tertiary Education Unions have warned against any plans in the immediate by the Ghana Education Service, to reopen schools.

According to the unions, they would not subscribe to the re-opening of the schools should President Akufo-Addo decide not to extend the 31st May, 2020 deadline for the ban on prescribed public and social gatherings to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, and go ahead to order the re-opening of the schools.

The groups insist that conditions are not rife for the safe reopening of schools given that the new coronavirus infection spread remain “very exponential” and “still very much horizontal” in the country.

As at Monday, May 18, Ghana had recorded 5,735 confirmed cases, 29 deaths and 1,754 recoveries.

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In a letter dated May 18, 2020, addressed to the Director General of the Ghana Education Service (GES), in response to requests for suggestions to plan the re-opening of schools, the unions – Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Coalition of Concerned Teachers Ghana (CCT-GH) and Teachers and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) - said given that our schools could serve as incubation centres of the pandemic, coupled with the unlimited social interactions and movements which take place there, they would not support the reopening of schools.

The unions also list a number of issues as additional reasons why they would not support any move to reopen the schools under current conditions, insisting, “We cannot expose our Teachers and students to the COVID-19 pandemic, with its attendant sorrows and gnashing of teeth.”

The unions are also concerned that;

  • Considering the age and exuberance of our students one cannot be sure that they will adhere strictly to the CONVID-19 protocol hence the fear that the disease may spread in the schools,
  • That the country's health system is still grappling with handling the situation,
  • That items for the observation of the prescribed protocols -i.e. clean running water for washing of hands frequently, alcohol-based hand sanitizers for sanitizing of hands by both Teachers and students, face/nose masks to be used by Teachers and students, are all not available in the schools.
  • That class sizes and dormitory population are still large, thus not making the observation of social distancing possible,
  • Majority of Teachers and Students will have to commute from their place of abode to the schools hence increasing the risk of infection of the CONVID 19.

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