Lots of concerns are steering the airwaves regarding the reopening of schooling activities for both the private and public schools in Ghana. One interest of the government in these times of the global pandemic has been the issue of funds. At an address last week, the Finance Minister, Honourable Ofori-Atta noted that the global epidemic is estimated to cost the country GHS 9.505 billion and of course, the amount includes the salaries and other financial benefits of teachers working in the public schools. The concern to resume schooling activities has received backlash from some educational representatives and figures in the country.
Commenting on the situation, former Rector of GIMPA, Professor Stephen Adei, noted that teachers who prefer staying at home amid the global pandemic should be ready to take a pay-cut. To him, working in the government sector does not guarantee continuous receipt of salaries when workers stay idle without working. The government came up with the decision to have all schools closed down as a measure against the spread of the global pandemic. By this, students and teachers have been home since March 2020.
The idea of resuming schooling activities has not received a good reception from the general public, with some educational unions opting against the decision. Mr Adei believes teachers should make themselves available when schooling activities resume, either than that; they should have something done about their salaries. He finds the actions of teachers kicking against the reopening of schools, unpleasant.
To him, if teachers insist on staying at home amid the Covid-19, they should be ready to sit with the government on a round table to discuss their salaries. Sitting at home and not having their salaries discussed with the government exhibits a trait of irresponsibility on the parts of teachers, says Professor Adei. Per the words of the former rector of GIMPA, he expects teachers to take responsibility in assisting the government in these times of difficulty. To him, its either teachers take up the responsibility to discuss their salaries or protocols to ensure the safety of schooling activities to enable teaching and learning to proceed. The Ghana Education Service has, however, denied the news of the government’s intention to have school activities resumed.
Meanwhile, Professor Adei has called on the government to have schools reopened to only final year students of the Senior High Schools and Tertiary institutions. According to him, there is the need for a contingency plan which will ensure final year students complete their study programmes. At the same time, other educational levels can be managed until the end of the year. In the wake of this, he’s called on the government to subscribe to either a double or triple track system of schooling to ensure final year students at both SHS and tertiary levels have their programmes completed.