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COVID-19: ATAG disagrees with teacher unions over complete shut down of Schools

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All Teachers Alliance Ghana (ATAG) a pre-tertiary teacher union has stated emphatically,that it disagrees with the stance of some four teacher unions, who said the government should allow the final year WASSCE and BECE Candidates to go home due o the Coronavirus Pandemic.

In a statement issued by its general secretary, Albert Dadson, on March 17, 2020, the Union claimed the stance of the other four Unions on the CoronaVIRUS was misplaced.

ATAG accused the other four Unions of neglecting two other pre-tertiary unions in taking a decision of general concern.

”We want to state emphatically that by law and recognition by the labour department there exist six pre-tertiary teacher unions which also include the All Teachers Alliance Ghana and one another. The stance of these four unions does not cover the views of all the pre-tertiary teacher unions and those views expressed by them are purely centred on their subjective views.”the Union said.

ATAG said they believe that views that had been expressed by those four unions fall short of needed interventions in the midst of these tried times.

”They stated in their press release among other things:
(i) that Ghanaians are culturally a hand-shaking people and (face) touching people
(ii) that the country’s health facilities are limited in capacity
(iii) that the Ghanaian attitude to the environment is poor
(iv) that prescriptions are easier given than effected
(v) that our schools could be incubated centres for the virus
(v) that the government should also dismiss the final year students to also go home
(v) that the government consults with WAEC to postpone their timetables.” It said.

”We found these propositions of the unions to be worrying and problematic and we believe the government should not accept these reasons to embark on any form of uncertain gesture to the detriment of the school children.”

”First of all, the government had put down seed money of 100 million USD to fight the pandemic and we think we can only advise the government to provide schools with adequate facilities such as bowls for washing hands, hand sanitizers and other measures to ensure the total safety of the children and teachers.”

”Besides, a lot of education is currently underway and I think Ghanaians have come to terms with current global situation and issues of not shaking hands and constant washing of hands are becoming the basic health norms of the ordinary Ghanaian. We can say without mincing words that Ghanaians are now more environmentally conscious than ever and issues of health had taken the centre stage in every home or community.”

”Again, the government had asked the majority of the students and pupils to go home and dealing with final year students and pupils cannot be a challenge in managing the situation prior to the writing of the BECE and the WASSCE.”

”On a more critical note, closure of the school will go a long way to affect the academic calendar and disrupt school activities adversely to the detriment of the school children. It is therefore prudent for the government to tighten management of the virus at schools to prevent horizontal transmission rather than to closing them.”

”Since other public institutions like banks, court, market have stringent controlled measures to enable them to carry out their activities, the four teacher unions could have advised the government same to use measures in managing the few final year students to carry out their routine school activities to avoid disruption of their examination calendar.”

We agree the pandemic is critical but we cannot embrace panic to be making hasty decisions whilst effective management of the situation is ongoing. It said.

ATAG therefore, admonish the government as a matter of urgency to institute incentives, allowances and insurance policy and other interventions for teachers who will remain in schools to teach the form three students and pupils whilst ensuring complete protection for our school children amidst global crunch to battle the coronavirus.

Source: EducationGhana.net

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