It is known to every Ghanaian that, we started having our toll on Covid-19 in March, when almost every economic activity was grounded by the President.
During the period of lockdown, the President’s decisions and directions were commended by all, including the International bodies. This made every Ghanaian proud and everybody thought that, the same science and data that informed government decisions to shut most businesses down due to the outbreak of Covid-19, will inform his decisions in easing the restrictions.
Among institutions that were severely hit by the lockdown were schools, churches, hotels among others. The announcement of easing the lockdown was greeted by most businesses as soothing, because, thousands of employees, who have not been paid for several months, school children, who have been kept out of schools for several months, were going to bounce back for normal activities to roll out while observing safety protocols.
No respect for safety protocols. So why keep our children out of school
With particular reference to education, vis a vis, current political activities, especially the President’s tour in the Western Region, puts one in a confused state of mind. One wonders why the reopening of schools are being administered in bits and pieces. Pictures trending on the President’s tour in the Western Region, clearly shows that, the leader in the fight of Covid-19 has thrown safety protocols to the wind due to political expediency. If such a mammoth crowd could come out to meet the President, without the wearing of a mask nor practicing social distancing, the questions that arise are:
- Should the police arrest people because they do not put on a mask?
- What is the justification for keeping children out of school when their parents are gleefully on the streets to meet the President during his tour in the Western Region?
- Wont these parents contract the virus and ultimately infect their children at home?
- Is the President saying his political campaign and launching of projects safer than the reopening of schools for the children, who are the future leaders of this country to acquire knowledge?
- Is the President thinking of the numerous teachers in private schools who have not been paid since the outbreak of Covid-19 and are still kept at home without salaries when the President is busily working for the extension of his employment as the President of Ghana
It appears when there are political activities, Covid-19 ceases to exist. This is evidenced in the recent primaries and voters registration exercise.
It is regrettable that, the children, who are now kept out of schools are in the streets selling, whilst some are already pregnant and may not return to school, others, engaged in nefarious activities without the supervision of adults. Yet, Ghanaians look on, as though we have been hypnotized to stare into inaction. The most pathetic aspect is that, the little children, who had schools as a safe haven to enable their parents work, are left either unattended to or looked after by nannies, who only God knows what they do the children in the absence of their parents.
In view of the points raised, it is our humble submission, as an immediate measure, the President should reopen all schools from the Nursery to the Senior High Schools, to cut short the further destruction of our children by keeping them out of school, since their continuous stay at home is not supported by any science nor data. The video lessons for these children, which people think can replace the classroom work is putting an unreasonable toll on our incomes, which are already in limbo, because, as one parent said, she spends almost four hundred Ghana cedis a month on her child’s zoom lessons. This is not an issue of politics which should be left for NPP and NDC to argue over, but should be looked at through the lens of objectivity to open up the economy for schools and businesses to thrive as an immediate measure.
Again, what has become of the committee set up by the president and chaired by the senior minister to come up with modalities for schools reopening. now the minister of education has also set up another committee in expecting a report by 21st September. Why are we toying the lives of our future leaders or is it because of a deliberate attempt by government to free funds meant for free SHS for political activities, hence continuous and unjustified closure of schools while almost all businesses are open .
Finally, why the rush to open airports when children are kept out of school? The opening of the airport and children going to school, which is riskier if indeed decisions are informed by science and data?
Let us not use Covid-19 to destroy our children whilst politicians are feeding fat.
K K Kempimso
BY: COALITION OF CONCERNED PARENTS