President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Thursday stressed the need for the adoption of modern teaching and learning approaches to counter the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s educational regime.
Noting the drastic way that the coronavirus had changed, globally, the way things are done, including that of the educational sector, he said it was of utmost importance that modern technology was harnessed to improve educational outcomes to safeguard the future prosperity of the country.
In an interaction with Vice Chancellors of public universities at the Jubilee House, Accra, ahead of the partial reopening of tertiary institutions on Monday, June 15, 2020, President Akufo-Addo reiterated that education was the key to the future of the country, and measures were being taken to ensure that the crisis does not impact on the quality of education of children and the youth.
As a result, Government, he said, was initiating a learning management system to promote electronic learning and online educational interaction in all tertiary institutions across the country.
He stated that learning management systems would enable the government access the effectiveness of e‐learning and online interactions.
President Akufo-Addo spoke about the Open University concept, which he said government was taking a keen interest in to see how it would contribute to quality education in the country.
Government, he said, was working to ensure that universities provided quality distance learning as was being delivered by Open Universities.
President Akufo-Addo indicated that his decision to order the reopening of schools for particularly final year students is to prevent the past experiences of where the education of Ghanaian students were interrupted due to political decisions.
“We know here in Ghana, we have examples, very painful examples of what happened to generations of Ghanaians whose education was interrupted, sometimes by purely political events not by pandemics, but by political events and its taken a long time for the victims of those political interventions in the life of our educational system, to recover and for our system to recover.
“If there is any way we can prevent this generation also suffering in their evolution from the pandemic, we should do so, ” he said.
The President pointed out that “Education is the key to the future of our country, the quality of education that our education institutions will produce will determined the success or failure of our nation,” adding that ways have to be sought “to safeguard that future.”
“Safeguarding that future means essentially safeguarding the prospect of the generation of young people who are the objects of education today,” he stressed.
President AKufo-Addo was confident that the limited reopening of universities would serve as a good example for the country, as there would be space for compliance with health protocols relative to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If it succeeds, then the country will be reassured that we can begin to step up with confidence to the future that comes ahead of us,” he said
Professor Ebenezer Oduro, Chairman of the Vice Chancellors of Ghana, assured the President that contrary to media reports that some universities have decided not to open despite the government’s directives for them to open, all universities would adhere to the directive in absolute terms..
“Come the 15th, that is Monday, all universities will reopen as you have directed.
“We believe that the orders were given in some context, and that tells us that we need also to apply wisdom and some level of discretion in getting the students to campus to complete their academic work,” he said.
Prof. Oduro, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, the revealed that the universities had reached an agreement with the students’ body to adopt a “blend approach” that would see the continuation of online studies, and the opening of classrooms to those who would want to walk in and study.
He assured also that all safety protocols would be observed.