The Upper East Regional Chairman of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Mr. Samuel Atompoya has expressed some shocking worries ahead of the re-opening of schools.
Mr. Atompoya told Ngamegbulam Chidozie Stephen of Apexnewsgh.com in an exclusive interview that they are ready to comply with government directive by returning to school on the 18th January 2021, but stressing that government must work their talk by providing schools with Personal Protective Equipment’s (PPEs) to enable them to perform their duties accordingly.
He narrated his experience during some of his rounds in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region, where he saw some students cleaning school compounds without wearing any nose mask and these children according to him, were doing it together as if nothing is happening. An atmosphere he described as very ‘worrying’ especially knowing how the children enjoy mingling together among themselves.
According to Mr. Atompoya, as at the time of speaking to Apexnewsgh.com on Monday, January 18, 2021, no single PPE was seen or received by any school in the Upper East Region and he believes that is a big challenge to teachers and children as they are returning to school.
He further shared his experience on how some schools ended up not receiving the actual PPEs from Accra as stated by President during his then Nation Address because some were not able to get hand sanitizers let alone the Veronica bucket.
He questioned why the government is always depending on one person from Accra to supply PPEs across all schools in the country, especially when every region is having Education Director who should be able to take such responsibility to ease the load on the government and afterward reports back.
Meanwhile, he was alarmed with the increasing rate of COVID recorded in the Upper East Region within this short period and stressing that politicians should stop playing politics with the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian people.
“You notice that, when the President delivered his address, he was cautioning every Ghanaian and we teachers are no exception. We should observe the COVID protocol and that they were going to supply PPEs to all the schools. Yes, I can say for now that some of the schools have been fumigated and that was the preparedness for us to come back to school. But as a matter of fact, as at Sunday when I did some checks, especially at the Senior High Schools, there is nothing in the region as I speak to you now. So, that is the challenge we as teachers faced. Now, the President has emphasized that everybody must wear a nose mask and must also observe the protocols and so, if these PPEs are not given to the school, how are we going to observe and use these PPEs in order to protect ourselves and protect others from getting the COVID. My brother, I don’t know whether is authentic, what I saw from other platforms in Upper East Region here, in some of the districts is very worrying, if the figures I saw is authentic then, is very worrying for us in Upper East because the figures keep on rising every day. So, if these small children coming back to school, you know as children one will like to drink water and give to his colleague who is equally tasty. That’s one area we are even afraid of.
In Basic schools, they have classes but they don’t have enough accommodation to accommodate from KG to JHS 3 that will allow these protocols to be observed. When the 3rd year came to write and complete, the JHS 1 were at home, the JHS 2 were at home and there are other schools that combine the JHS and that of the Primary level. Now, how are we going to ensure that this protocol is observed because they have not been expanded any of the classrooms at the Basic level. So, it will be very difficult if all are coming back to school. So, it is very very worrying but once the directive has been given, we will follow it. Currently, am in Bongo to find out what is happening there, and I have just come to a school just close to the Education Service and I have seen a few of the students doing some cleaning and they are not even wearing nose mask. So, if the PPEs are in and is going to continue this way then, is worrying. Politicians shouldn’t take our lives very cheaply like that, we know that we have been long waiting at home but, what is the essence of coming back home if those things weren’t provided? We don’t have a problem but, the concern is that, why can’t government decentralize these PPEs so that the Regional Directors could purchase them, that will be very easy for them to transport or distribute them to schools. Everything is done in Accra and the last time these PPEs were brought from Accra and those that were brought was not even enough some came without hand sanitizers; others came without the T-rolls. So, should the government depend on doing everything in Accra when we have Regional Directors at this level? He can ask them to purchase and then report to them”. He told Apexnewsgh.
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