Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ivan Addae-Mensah has questioned the rationale behind government’s decision to reopen schools for final year students amidst the increasing cases of the Novel Coronavirus.
According to the renowned professor of Chemistry, although it has become necessary for government to carve an escape plan amidst the virus, it is barely feasible to run the schools system in this period.
In his expert opinion, the idea of dividing classes to ensure strict adherence to safety protocols is not only cumbersome but easier said than done.
Speaking in an interview with TV3’s Alfred Ocansey, Professor Addae-Mensah argued that with specific regards to tertiary institutions, the idea of dividing classes may appear rather simple but in terms of practicality it is almost impossible for some faculties to adjust.
Thus, making President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s directives on school reopening for final year students untenable, with specific regards to tertiary institutions.
Professor Addae-Mensah said, “Let’s make sure that whatever facilities are required that the children are safe are provided, let’s make sure that happens. Talk is easy, action is difficult. Let’s take for example the universities when I heard what the president said I wondered what was going on…if you say that university classes should be halved, if you take my MPhil final year students, for example, they’re only 10…and they can be taken at one go. You go to the political science department one class can be as many as 1500 or even 2000. If you say half of them you haven’t done anything.”
He continued, “If you say 100 at a time, it will mean one lecture given 15 times or 20 times. It’s physically, economically and mentally impossible.”
President Akufo-Addo in his 10th address to the nation on measures taken to curb the spread of coronavirus announced plans to reopen schools in phases.
In his address, he indicated that from Monday, June 15, 2020, schools and universities are to be re-opened for final year students as part of a revised measure for fighting the deadly coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ghana.
The decision according to the president was taken in consultation with teacher unions.
“Indeed, final year university students are to report to their universities on 15th June, final year senior high school (SHS 3) students together with SHS 2 gold track students on 22nd June and final-year junior high school (JHS 3) students on 29th June,” the president said.