The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is not just a threat to education but a major opportunity to reshape teaching and learning in the country, the President of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Mrs Philippa Larsen, has said.
According to her, the reshaping of teaching could be done through the integration of pedagogies which incorporated “digital learning and the prioritisation of Education In Emergencies (EIE) in education budgeting and planning”.
“GNAT further opines that there is a great need for psycho-social support for parents, learners and teachers during and after COVID-19, to help them cope in the school environment and minimise poor attendance and dropout rates, with particular attention to girls, persons living with disability and children who may be at risk of child labour,” Mrs Larsen said in Accra last Thursday when she launched the Impact
Assessment of COVID-19 On The Education Sector In Ghana: The Perspectives of GNAT.
Mrs Larsen said the impact assessment contained the thoughts of the association on the pandemic and some recommendations to help turn life around during and after COVID-19.
“It is handy, comprehensive and a must-read. We hope all who lay their hands on it would find it useful and relevant,” she said.
Mrs Larsen noted that it was a known fact that the pandemic had taken the whole world, including Ghana, by storm, wreaked havoc everywhere and brought life to a standstill, adding that “in Ghana, we continue to see a rise in the numbers of infection, the isolation of the infected and the deaths which have characterised this pandemic”.
Indeed, she said, the country had undergone lockdowns in some areas, restriction of movement and the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE), hitherto not part of its culture.
“Trade and commerce, religious and social activities and our area of concern — education - have all come to a standstill.
We are aware of the interventions that have been put in place to curtail the spread of the pandemic and abate its effects.
We are aware of the stress on hygienic practices which we were made to go through as children in our school days but neglected in our adult lives,” Mrs Larsen said.
Of all the issues related to the pandemic, she said GNAT had neither been a silent listener nor a passive observer, and had made its voice heard when it mattered most in radio and television discussions.
GNAT, she said, had even offered its facilities to agencies and bodies engaged in the fight against the pandemic.
“We have gone further to conduct an impact assessment of the coronavirus and its impact on our area of concern, education. This document is published in the form of a booklet ...which we present to the Ghanaian public,” she said.
For his part, the General Secretary of GNAT, Mr Thomas Musah, said the association had found it necessary to take a look at the impact of the pandemic on the education sector and how from its perspectives, the country could combat it and how education could be run when things settled.
“In compiling the impact assessment of COVID-19 on the education sector, the association has relied on such authorities in education as the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the United Nations and examined their strategies for handling education in times of crisis such as Ghana finds itself now,” he said.