COVID-19 impact on education, one year on

On March 12, 2020, Ghana recorded its first two confirmed cases of coronavirus.

One year on TV3 recaps events and the impact the pandemic has brought on the education sector.

The two cases recorded were people who had returned to the country from Norway and Turkey, and these cases initiated the first contact tracing process in the country.

By March 15, health authorities had announced six cases of the virus have been recorded, within a period of less than 48 hours.

The increasing numbers forced the government to close down all educational institutions from basic schools to the tertiary level effective march 16 until further notice.

The closure turned out to be quite longer than expected.

For ten months school children and students remained at home and the impact was felt greatly.

Heads of schools and teachers particularly those at the tertiary level were asked to employ the use of online learning for students to complete their academic calendar.

But that did not come easy as there were challenges with data among others.

Those at the basic and senior high schools were taught while at home through the Ghana learning TV.

This also came as a challenge as children in rural Ghana could not watch, either due to lack of electricity or poverty.

The closure of schools brought untold hardships to some teachers particularly those in the private sector.

While teachers in government schools continued to receive salary, those from the private sector felt the impact negatively.

Over 222 private schools were out of business and as a result of the economic challenges many proprietors had to convert their facilities into residential apartments.

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Both teachers and students were left in academic limbo.

Junior high school students who were supposed to write the basic education certificate examination in April rather took the exam on September 14 due to the coronavirus.

The pandemic also affected the timing for the West African secondary school certificate examination which took place on July 20 instead of the scheduled May/June.

After ten months of closure, the government finally re-opened schools on January 15 for basic and JHS, January 18 for senior high and January 9 for tertiary institutions.

The reopening for the 2020/2021 academic calendar witnessed mixed reactions due to the surge in covid-19 cases at the time.

But temperature checks, mandatory wearing of masks and observance of other covid-19 protocols were strictly enforced.

The hardship has been telling on the sector and it is the hope that students and teachers would continue to observe the protocols to ensure continuous stay in school.

By Evelyn Tengmaa||Ghana