Safeguarding the future in time of crisis

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Mathew Opoku Prempeh.

The headline topic in all countries across the world in 2020 has been the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic. It has brought fear and panic, slowed economic growth and created a new normal where wearing of masks, washing of hands, and keeping our distance from people have become the standard operating procedure for health and safety.

Right from the time the virus entered Ghana, President Akufo-Addo has been up to the task, taking decisive actions and ensuring that the country does not come to a standstill while fighting the virus. Even when he was criticized and doubted for some of his decisions, he stood his grounds and the facts bore him out.

As part of the widespread “stay at home” measures, schools were temporarily shut down as a precautionary measure. After the experts and policymakers had gained a better understanding of the dynamics of the virus, the President asked that final years return to write their exit examinations.

At the time, the number of confirmed cases was rising. This caused many observers such as political opponents and social commentators to react with trepidation. The government stood its ground and assured parents, students and the general public that adequate measures had been instituted to ensure the safety of the students. Regardless, the pressure on the President remained resolute.

Now, final year students of senior high schools have completed their final examinations without much trouble. Thankfully, the few who got infected by the virus recovered fully and in time to be able to partake in the WAEC-administered exam. It is to the credit of the teachers and students that in such uncertain times, they rose to the occasion and with fortitude, went through the exercise. Congratulations to them.

For President Akufo-Addo, it may have been popular to let the students remain at home for as long as the virus was lurking around. However, his commitment to not letting the virus stand in the way of the destiny of these future leaders spurred him on. In staying the course, he made it possible for these students to make one positive step towards their future.

The cooperation of parents during this period cannot be overlooked. Releasing a teenager to be in the schools’ boarding facilities for weeks in such moments must have required a high measure of faith and courage. The nation must be show gratitude to all parents across the country who, by this situation, have modelled for their children a blueprint for courage in the midst of uncertainty.

What President Akufo-Addo did by allowing final year students to return and complete their academic programs in a safe manner exemplifies the leadership needed to improve Ghana’s fortunes. Ghana can make progress with such decisive leadership backed by a committed citizenry.

It is expected that the enormous resources being poured into the Free SHS program will yield massive dividends for the nation soon. This is because a nation’s greatest assets are its human resource; it is the human resources that determine the direction of the country. Thus, any investment to enhance the quality of these assets has the propensity to yield a high return on investment.

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