President Akufo-Addo has said that Ghanaians cannot allow the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to determine the nation’s survival and progress.
“We have to do everything within our power to protect their potential and, thereby, help preserve our future. We cannot afford to let the pandemic undermine our chances for survival and progress.
“We have to confront our present and future with confidence, knowing fully well that we must remain, at all times, vigilant and careful,” he said.
The president made this remark in response to concerns over schools reopening following a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Some Ghanaians have condemned the president for announcing the opening of schools for final-year students amid the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
Universities are reopening today, Monday, while senior high and junior high schools will follow suit in the coming days.
Issue of social justice
As of Sunday, June 14, the number of COVID-19 cases in Ghana had increased to 11,964.
Addressing the nation on Sunday, President Akufo-Addo explained that there was a need to ease restrictions to help revitalise the Ghanaian economy.
“Fellow Ghanaians, over the last three months, every aspect of our national life has been affected by this virus. We have had to take deliberate steps to ensure that our society, in the face of the pandemic, is able to function, and continues to strive to deliver the results of progress, prosperity, and development, for which we all yearn.
“Saving lives, jobs and livelihoods, revitalising our economy and safeguarding the future of our country have been at the heart of this endeavour. We cannot say that, because of the pandemic, we are no longer interested in issues of social justice, such as education and health.”
The president also said that the government has put in place the measures necessary to protect students returning to school.
“Education, indeed, is the key to the future of our country. The quality of education that our educational institutions produce, ultimately, will determine the success or otherwise of our nation. We, therefore, have to find a way of guaranteeing the prospects of the generation of young people who are the objects of education today, and who represent our future.”
Universities ready to reopen
Public and private universities across the country said they were ready to resume academic work as final-year students return to school today, Monday.
The chairman of Vice-Chancellors Ghana, Professor Ebenezer Oduro, says adequate measures have been put in place to protect students, teaching and non-teaching staff from the effects of COVID-19.
“All universities are obliging to reopen and so come the 15th, Monday, all universities will reopen so students who want to come to campus are free to come to campus.
“Those who for one reason or the other feel that they are safe where they are and they have access to internet facilities and they will want to stay at home while we continue our online things, [fine,]” he said.
“Numbers do not support partial reopening” – Azar
Meanwhile, the legal practitioner and professor of accounting Stephen Kweku Asare, also known as Kwaku Azar, has called on the government to reconsider its decision to partly reopen schools.
In a Facebook post, Professor Azar said the COVID-19 numbers do not support the idea. Consequently, he asked the government to call off the schools reopening.
“The COVID-19 numbers do not support a partial reopening of schools on Monday. The government should look at the numbers and refine the reopening policy accordingly,” he urged.