For the safety of children and economic hardships,A dead year should be considered for all

For the safety of children and economic hardships,A dead year should be considered for all

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Bill Dan started this petition to Students and

Mama argues that schools are re-opening for we have no idea when COVID would certainly go. Surely, I wouldn’t mind schools reopening either, whether COVID exists or not. The vital argument Mama is missing, and even unsatisfactorily responding to, is the ill timing of this whole program, which I believe is instead going to prove counterproductive for many of the stakeholders involved!

From the face of it, the academic year 2020 was quite too late to redeem and this new program is simply going to wreak havoc in as far as the normal school calendar is concerned for both continuing students and the candidates themselves.

But before I even talk about that, I don’t think it was reasonable enough to allow parents just one month to look for tuition and send kids back to school. It is more appalling that Mama’s response to this is that “Government did not create COVID”. This does not in any way deal with the issue. The teachers themselves have not been salaried for over months, and they ably fall in the category of parents that may not afford to send kids back to school! They have months of unpaid rent, utility bills, general home maintenance, etc. Even when flexible payment plans are put in place, 4 months may not be sufficient enough for some parents to raise school dues for the two near consecutive terms! If the Ministry had declared this a dead year, and announced say today that schools would reopen next year in February, these five months would have been sufficient enough to allow even the brokest parents arrange reasonable resources to have their kids back to school.

Still on the issue of costs, there are school administration costs like insurance, security, etc. that remain constant irrespective of the number of students enrolled, or whether kids are at school or not. On top of the high cost of the mandatory COVID SOPs slapped on the schools, schools are now being tasked to forge a way out to meet these new SOP costs, in addition to other fixed and variable costs of school maintenance, without pressurizing the parent, and without any stimulus relief package from the government! What a joke! The government cannot even exempt schools from paying for state owned utility costs like water and electricity just for this time but expects schools to magically find sufficient liquidity for their smooth operationalization. If there is anything schools may not tolerate for too long, it will be the bargaining parents! This would also have been settled had sufficient time been allowed.

The issue of costs aside, let’s now look at the very school calendar proposed. Kids are gonna be taken on an academic marathon to cover up for lost time, without provision for any kind of sports or co-curricular. Let us assume this were healthy and justifiable for just the time candidates would be at school. It’s more worrying that this may not stop with just these two terms, but is likely to bleed into the entire academic journey of these students. With S.4 final exams pushing up to April of next year, allowing for sufficient time for their grading, these kids will likely miss one and a half terms into their form five. I don’t want to explain what this means for an A’level student, especially one doing PCB or PCM or any other content heavy combination. The only way forward would be for teachers to adopt the same stringent school timetable of no co-curricular to patch up with the syllabus coverage (mind you, teachers, in the G8 schools, could still not complete the syllabus in time with the normal school calendar)! This kind of sprinted learning is certainly not the holistic learning we demand of our education system. It will simply create lots of anxiety and stress for the kids affecting their own quality of life and certainly academic competencies!

Sadly, this issue is not even just unique to the candidates themselves. You speak of automatic promotion for continuing students based on the belief that they’ve been doing home learning. Now, for the record, little to no serious homeschooling has been taking place for obviously an insufficiency of required academic resources. For proper contextualization however, let us discuss this in the context of a senior five PCB student that had barely spent three weeks in their form five before schools closed (some of these students were actually still experimenting with different A’level combinations). You propose automatic promotion for this student and expect that in less than the one year they have before their UACE, their teachers will have covered all there was to cover in their form five plus their senior six. This just leads back to my previous worry of a sprinted academic program.

I do not want to extend my discussion to how the SOPs will be effected; what would happen if candidates at a particular center contracted the virus prolly towards their finals; how SOPs will be effected for day schools especially during the time kids are leaving school for home, etc. I also don’t want to think you are trying some experiment on herd immunity. Otherwise if entire hospitals are being forced to shut for just a few one two three cases (against the spirit of herd immunity), I do not know what will be unique for the schools.
For all this, I do believe that this while program was ill timed, and I am afraid, it may prove counterproductive. Needless, let my amateur self sit back and see how events unfold, since your response to all these claims has been, “Government did not create COVID”.

For God and my country!

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