The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) has backed government’s decision to allow final year Senior and Junior High School (SHS/JHS) students to write this year’s West Africa Examination Certificate (WAEC) examinations.
According to Eric Angel Carbonu, President of NAGRAT, the students had already completed the syllabus and have been adequately prepared for the examinations before the schools were forced to close down in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The short stay at home will not be a problem because the students were in the revision stage, preparing for the examinations. They had already completed the syllabus and were just in line to write their papers when the diseases struck the country. I agree that they write the examination rather than progress them with the Continuous Assessment which is fraught with challenges,” he stated.
In an interview with the Ghanaian Times yesterday in Accra, he, however, expressed concern about the decision to re-open schools this month although Ghana’s COVID-19 positive cases continue to rise.
He said re-opening of schools should have been delayed until September or October in order not to risk the lives of students and teachers.
“I agree that the re-opening of schools should have been pushed back to September or October, so that by then we would have had ample time to know how we will go about the situation to protect our students and teachers. We must place the lives of the students and teachers and anybody for that matter above any certificate,” he stated.
Although the delay would have thrown the academic calendar off-gear, Mr Carbonu explained that, the disease has impacted negatively on all sectors, including education, and destabilised economies across the globe, and Ghana could not be an exception.
“Until a definite global response to COVID-19 was found, the NAGRAT President said, life would not return to normal as before, stating that “we must prioritise the lives of our people until then,” he said.
Currently, he said, there was growing mixed feelings among parents as to whether or not schools should be re-opened when Ghana’s recorded cases continue to rise with no cure or vaccine for treatment.
He noted that there was uncertainty among students and teachers on how the schools’ environment would be ideal to curtail spread of the disease.
Mr Carbonu said mass testing for students and teachers, which has been proposed, was not the ideal solution as stated by some health experts, adding that “the associated costs and it being less of a prevention mechanism is why government has not taken that path.”
He urged the Ministry of Education to allow parents and their wards decide on whether or not to return to school, because most of them were through with their preparations for the examinations.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his 10th address to the nation on measures put in place to check the spread of COVID-19 in the country announced the reopening of schools, but for only final year students of Junior High School, Senior High School and tertiary institutions.
According to him, beginning June 15, final year students are to resume school starting with university students.