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Reopening of basic schools in Ghana: A major responsibility for teachers

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It is a known fact that the advent of COVID-19 has caused major setbacks in most sectors around the world, education included.

The Ghana Education Service (GES) ordered the immediate and indefinite shut down of basic and second-cycle schools hosting final-year Junior and Senior High School students on Monday, March 23, 2020 due to this global pandemic.

President Akufo-Addo in his 21st Covid-19 update to the nation announced that all basic schools (KG – JHS) are to reopen on 15th January, 2021. The President this decision was based on the data received from the Ghana Health Service on COVID-19. However, this decision comes with a lot of responsibilities for basic school teachers nationwide.

Observing COVID-19 protocols like wearing of face masks, social distancing, regular washing of hands with water and soap and the use of alcohol based hand sanitizers are very essential tools to fighting the pandemic. This may pose challenges in the classroom based on the nature of the Ghanaian classrooms.

Most classrooms are overcrowded due to inadequate infrastructure and this may affect social distancing. How will a school with inadequate classrooms ensure students are one metre apart and also reduce class size?

Consider the kindergarten classroom. It is the classroom with most contacts and movements. This situation gives the teacher in the kindergarten classroom the biggest challenge ever, considering the KG classroom is the most overcrowded in our schools.

Though I agree with the President’s decision to reopen schools, I must emphasize that this decision comes with major responsibilities for the basic school teacher. Teachers must not relent when it comes to ensuring the safety of the students, especially the KG classroom.

A small error or negligence on the part of teachers may lead to serious repercussions and therefore teachers must be vigilant in performing their duties to ensure that the children are safe.

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Philip Amankwah is a tech enterpreneur and an education blogger


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