An educational think tank, IFEST says a prolonged stay at home of students could have dire consequences to the country’s weak education system.
In a communiqué issued to the Minister of Education and its allied offices, IFEST says the country must be guided by the impact of the Ebola crises on education in affected countries after schools were closed for eight to 12 months.
What was formerly known as VIAM Africa, now IFEST, has therefore tabled a number of suggestions or roadmap for a return to school, suggestions, that will not only meet the objectives of the country’s education but will also consider the needs of public health in these time of global pandemic.
Key among the roadmap is a return to the shift system to reduce population in classrooms as part of a strict social distancing protocol in the event schools are reopened.
As part of measures to fight the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in Ghana, the president Nana Akufo-Addo, in March announced a ban on all social gatherings and as a consequence a closure of all schools, churches, pubs, drinking bars etc.
Even though cases of positive infections have hiked into the thousands, there has been a general consensus that the bans and restrictions be relaxed, albeit with social distancing protocols.
Schools, churches, and other organizations have submitted social distancing protocols in order to limit the spread of the Covid-19 which has since infected 6019 Ghanaians, killed 33 others with 1737 recovered persons.
IFEST believes it is time for the students to return to school with strict protocols.
“With our years of experience in and understanding of the sector and after considerable research on the issue at stake, IFEST submits the following proposals for consideration. The focus of any plan should be to prevent the spread of the virus in our schools and control/limit its spread should any cases be reported,” IFEST said in its communiqué.
The communiqué in part said the schools should have a clear cut, laid down protocol on how to handle suspected cases of Covid-19 when detected.
“These protocols should be made available to all schools in written form and in the form of posters on school compounds.”
To deal with the issue of large class sizes, IFEST is suggesting a split in classes either by adopting a shift system or have some of the students use compounds as their classrooms.