National President of GNAT, Philippa Larsen

The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has put forward nineteen requests it wants government to fulfill before taking any decision to reopen schools.

Topmost among the list is a reduction in class size, fumigation of all schools and education offices as well as compulsory COVID-19 testing of all teachers, learners and supporting staff across the country.

These were arrived at after the Teacher Union conducted an assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the Education Sector in Ghana.

Speaking at the launch of the assessment, National President of GNAT, Philippa Larsen said the pandemic is not just a threat to education, but an opportunity to restructure the country’s education system.

For over two months, all schools across the country have been shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than seven thousand people and killed 34.

This has resulted in a gap in education with some adopting online and the Ghana Learning TV put together by the Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation.

According to the assessment by GNAT, the prolonged closure of schools will result in an increase in school dropout rates, learning poverty, serious reduction in enrolment and massive job losses in the educational sector.

While enumerating these challenges, the President of GNAT, Philippa Larsen, said government must hasten slowly in reopening schools, adding that it must be done in phases with compulsory testing for teachers and learners.

The General Secretary of GNAT, Thomas Tanko Musah explained that the assessment was based on UNESCO’sFramework for Education during Emergencies.

The recommendations of the assessment and some proposals have been forwarded to government for consideration as government readies to take a decision to ease restrictions on public gatherings and subsequent reopening of schools.

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