Ghana: Let's Bear With the GES / but GES Could Have Been Proactive

On Tuesday, most final-year students of Senior High Schools (SHSs) either arrived at their various schools or on the way there when they learnt that the re-opening date had been postponed to May 5.

What a great inconvenience! Some of the students had gone to school unaccompanied, while others were either driven there or accompanied by parents using public transport.

Whatever the case was, the schoolchildren had to return home with their bag and baggage, and those having gone to school unaccompanied had to go through the trouble returning home.

It was a greater hell for students of schools like Wesley Girls SHS in Cape Coast whose parents normally charter buses for them because they had to arrange how to return home en masse.

It has been reported that where the children could not return immediately, the school authorities promised them breakfast for the next day but they had to arrange their own feeding subsequently and the schools had no arrangement to feed them.

This is distressing, considering, for instance, students coming down south from places in the north like Wa, Bolgatanga, Lawra, Mamprusi, Tamale, Yendi, Tumu, Wulugu, Bole and Salaga, whose parents had prepared for them based on the fact that they were going to be fed under the Free SHS policy.

These are also students who start their journeys down south at least a day before their mates because of the longer distance they have to cover.

Parents and others have lashed at the Ghana Education Service and the Ministry of Education for neither making a timely public announcement nor sending an official correspondence to the various schools to save the students and their parents the inconveniences.

While the Ghanaian Times cannot begrudge anyone for expressing an opinion on the inconveniences created by the educational authorities, we join the Management of the Ghana GES to apologise profusely to parents and final-year students for the inconveniences.

We also appeal to parents to unconditionally accept the apology and the explanations offered by the GES.

Even though we cannot speak for them, we believe the GES, the Ministry of Education or the government at large would not intentionally do anything to jeopardise the children's health, safety and the like.

The Director-General of GES, Professor Akwasi Opoku-Amankwa, has explained that the change was to enable the schools prepare to keep the students for a longer time for preparation towards their final examination.

The final-year students were to stay in school until May 28 and return on June 29 for their WASSCE but the current arrangement means they will be in school from May 5 until they write their WASSCE having spent their full 1,080 hours needed prior to the final examination.

The decision is said to have delayed, hence the inability of the GES to communicate same to the general public in time.

While it would be fruitless probing what caused the delay now, we hope parents would bear with the GES, but we wish to appeal to the Service that being proactive in all situations, particularly in communicating issues, is very important.

Therefore, the service should always be guided by a saying by Paul Bailey, a US Senator that, "Make sure to communicate your idea quickly and keep it straight to the point." That way we believe we can avoid some of these inconveniences.

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