The Ministry of Education has taken its campaign against the spread of the Ebola Viral Disease (EVD) to the pre-tertiary level to educate students and schoolchildren on the dos and don’ts in the event of any outbreak of the disease.
This follows the successful completion of a similar exercise with the tertiary institutions to prepare them before the schools reopen to commence the academic year.
The ministry has already met with stakeholders to discuss and strategise on the adoption of mitigating factors, as well as develop a comprehensive operational response plan on the preparedness of pre-tertiary institutions and basic schools to prevent Ebola.
The stakeholders included the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Ebola, representatives of the Ministry of Health, GES Committee on Ebola/Cholera (Basic Education), Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools, all regional directors of education and the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (Private Basic Schools), as well as the Conference of Directors of Education (CODE), the National Parent-Teacher Association and the Association of Principals of Technical Institutes.
Need for education
The Minister of Education, Professor Naana Jane Opoku Agyemang, stressed the need for more information on the disease, adding, “The more information we have, the more informed we all are and the easier it is for us to even predict what it is that we need to do.”
She said the educational sector was in a certain respect, vulnerable, “in the sense that, in our context, we have so many people who congregate and who do so for long periods. Those in boarding schools are even in a worse situation because that is their home and they spend more time in the boarding school than anywhere else in the course of the year.”
She expressed the belief that if the school was able to teach students and children well, “they will also go home and spread the information.”
Professor Opoku Agyemang reminded stakeholders that it took just a student from Guinea returning to school in Senegal, to introduce the disease into that country.
“So, our preparedness as the Ministry of Education is key and the important thing is that we get information; we avoid panic; we avoid diagnosing when we are in no position to do so; we know where to go; we know what to do to get support for anybody, God forbid, that may fall victim in our country,” she emphasised.
The Head of Department of Disease Control of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Kyei Faried,stressed that it was important to understand that unless a patient started showing signs, “he/she cannot transmit the disease to another person.”
He said he believed that by the time the patient started showing signs, the person would have been too sick to mingle with people and, therefore, said there was no basis to avoid someone who was going about his or her normal duties.
The Acting Director-General of the GES, Mr Charles Aheto-Tsegah, said the service was proposing to the stakeholders to have discussions with heads of second-cycle institutions to get all students screened as they reported to school before they were allowed to move into their dormitories.
He said the GES, in collaboration with the UNICEF, had put together a multi-sectorial group that would help in the preparation of the educational materials on Ebola and was hopeful that the materials that had been presented to stakeholders would be amended by September 12, 2014, so that the modification could be done before the reopening of senior high schools by September 16, 2014.
Source: Daily Graphic
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