The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Ado, has said that no student should be deprived of education because of the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) which has so far claimed millions of lives around the world.
He has in effect, called on the citizenry to do whatever they could within their power to ensure that the potentials of students are protected and preserved for the future, stressing that social justice must be delivered in a manner that does not put the lives of students and teachers at risk.
In his 11th update address to the nation on measures taken against the spread of the coronavirus on Sunday, June 14, 2020, the Ghanaian Leader said
“Saving lives, jobs and livelihoods, revitalizing our economy, and safeguarding the future of our country have been at the heart of this endeavor. We cannot say that, because of the pandemic, we are no longer interested in issues of social justice, such as education and health. Education, indeed, is the key to the future of our country. The quality of education that our educational institutions produce, ultimately, will determine the success or otherwise of our nation. We, therefore, have to find a way of guaranteeing the prospects of the generation of young people who are the objects of education today, and who represent our future”, he noted.
He added “We have to do everything within our power to protect their potential, and, thereby, help preserve our future. We cannot afford to let the pandemic undermine our chances for survival and progress. We have to confront our present and future with confidence, knowing fully well that we must remain, at all times, vigilant and careful”.
In view of this, he said from Monday, June 15, 2020, final year university students will return to the classroom to prepare for their exit examinations.
The students, he noted, will be in school for a six-week period of learning to finish their respective programs and a further four weeks to sit for their exit examinations. Lecturers, according to the President, will be done with half the class size.
“Prior to their return to school, Government, through the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, has ensured that all tertiary institutions, public and private, have been disinfected. Universities, with their own hospitals and clinics, have been equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment, and have isolation centers to deal with any positive cases. All other institutions, without their own clinics and hospitals, have been mapped to health facilities. There will be no mass gatherings and no sporting activities. Religious activities, under the new protocols, will be permitted. Social distancing and the wearing of face masks must become the norm on campus. To aid in this effort, a total of six hundred thousand (600,000) face masks has been distributed to the tertiary institutions. This is to enable every student, teaching and non-teaching staff to have three (3) reusable face masks. In addition to this, one thousand seven hundred (1,700) Veronica buckets, two hundred thousand (200,000) liters of hand sanitizers, three thousand, four hundred (3,400) liters of liquid soap, and nine hundred (900) thermometer guns have been distributed, with the transportation and delivery of these items being overseen by the special logistics team of the Government Committee, chaired by the sagacious, experienced politician, the Senior Minister, Hon. Yaw Osife Mao, that is supervising the re-opening of the schools”, he explained.
President Akufo-Addo said he has met with Vice-Chancellors of both public and private universities who have pledged to fully co-operate to ensure that the exercise is effectively undertaken.
“Our intention is to secure the lives of the nearly two hundred thousand (200,000) students, lecturers and non-teaching staff, who will be returning to campus from tomorrow, and I appeal to them also to do their bit to help us succeed. I urge them to adhere to enhanced personal hygiene and social distancing protocols, wash their hands with soap under running water, refrain from shaking hands, and wear their masks to, in and from the lecture halls, and on the campus, generally”, he advised.