Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), on Wednesday, suggested a nationwide re-entry campaign funded by the government to identify and support students, especially pregnant girls to re-enrol after delivery.
A statement copied to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) and signed by Mr Kofi Asare, Executive Director, Eduwatch said the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service and CSOs should lead the get-back-to-school campaign.
It said the Ministry of Education should harmonize the free Senior High School admission system to allow school heads to re-admit students, especially pregnant girls after delivery.
Eduwatch, therefore, called on Cabinet to consider the re-entry of pregnant girls as the government prepared to take decisions on re-opening of schools after a long break due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It said prolonged school closure could affect new enrolment as over 400,000 children were currently out of basic school and called for a community sensitization programme to mobilize one million children for enrolment in kindergarten one.
It said the closure also harmed students, especially girl’s re-enrollment due to teenage pregnancy, child marriage and child labour.
The statement suggested that a social protection strategy detailing the specific kinds of support must be developed for implementation.
It said about 1.2 million households in Ghana were without electricity and that Children in such households had limited or no access to virtual learning opportunities deployed by the government during the long period of school closure.
The statement said the situation had widened the already existing education quality inequality between rural and urban children, and an in-person extra tuition intervention would help bridge the gap in rural schools.
It said this must be considered as the nation encouraged the pursuit of human capacity and technology enhancement in virtual learning systems and technologies for teachers and schools while exploring innovations to reach rural children with interactive virtual learning programmes.
Eduwatch said delayed availability of sanitation kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remained unresolved from the previous school re-opening experiences.
It said the Government must consider decentralizing the procurement of PPE and ensure that every school received PPE and sanitation logistics before re-opening.