COVID-19: Start Academic Year Afresh In September – Neogenics Education Group

Neogenics Education Group, an educational consultancy, has urged government to nullify the current academic year and start all over in September following the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.

According to the group, students should be made to repeat their current year or classes.

COVID-19: Start Academic Year Afresh In September – Neogenics Education Group

Ghana on Monday, March 16, 2020, closed all schools, universities and suspended public events to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country.

President Nana Akufo-Addo announced in an address to the nation that the authorities were shutting schools and universities “until further notice”.

There have been calls by the Ghana National Council of Private Schools (GNACOPS) for government to open the schools now if it is safe; a request opposed by various teacher unions in the country.

But according to the educational consultancy group, it is not prudent for government to reopen schools now, but rather it should consider restarting the academic year in September 2020.

“On that note, Noegenics Education Group will want to advocate the best-fit alternative as the way forward; The current 2019/2020 academic year should be annulled and all children made to have a fresh start in September by repeating their current year/Class.”

Students in basic, Junior and Senior high schools were in their second term of the academic year while Tertiary institutions were in their second semesters before the COVID induced closure of schools set in.

In a press release signed by Grant Bulmuo, Lead Consultant of the group, their call is backed by research that “a child’s absence from school experience has a significant impact on their future successes and life chances.”

“Research shows that 8 days of absence from school reduces a child’s best chance of success by 4%, 19 days by 10%, 29 days by 15%, 38 days by 20% and 48 days by 25%. Children in Ghana by the end of May 2020 would have been absent from active learning for almost 50 school days. Your judgement is a good as ours! Majority of our children may hardly remember any of the learning they experienced in school from September 2019.”

The group further suggested that government should “engage all teachers in both Private and Public schools in a mass National ICT education drive by taking advantage of the increased national interest in ICT to equip parents, teachers and children across the country. This will offer everyone with the minimum ICT skills needed for the education system of Ghana to thrive and leapfrog to Global standards.”

The Neogenics Education Group further presented 10 questions which it thinks government should answer before taking any step towards reopening schools.

“Elsewhere the re-opening of schools has rather led to unexpected outcomes. In France, about 70 COVID-19 cases have been linked to schools after one-third of children recently went back to school. In the case of Ghana, even though it can be justifiably claimed that due to low national COVID-19 cases as compared to other countries, it may not necessarily imply that children will not be put at risk when schools are re-opened,” the statement added.

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