Right To Play urges inclusive education as COVID-19 disrupts education system

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Right To Play Ghana says the global health crisis can have a far more reaching impact on education if deliberate steps are not taken to ensure that all children benefit from the digital lessons provided by the Ghana Education Service.

In a statement marking the International Day of the African Child earlier this week, the organisation said children in communities with no access to internet and modern technologies are already disadvantaged and there is the need to bring them up to speed with the newly emerging use of social media.

“Right To Play is of the view that ‘access to a child-friendly justice system in Africa’, which is the continental theme for this year’s African Child’s Day should be linked to efforts to secure the education of children in the deprived communities,” the statement signed by the Country Director, Josephine Mukakalisa read.

This year marks the 29th International Day of the African Child since it was instituted in 1991 by Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the then Organisation of African Union and now African Union in commemoration of the June 16, 1976, student uprising in Soweto, South Africa. Since then, the day is marked across Africa to raise awareness about the situation of children and the urgent need to prioritise their education.

Right To Play noted Ghana has made some visible progress in education in the areas of girls’ education and structural reforms, culminating in the introduction of the new Standard-Basic Curriculum which places emphasis on play in lesson delivery at the primary level.

It, however, said these gains could be unrolled if the impact of COVID-19 on the education of children in rural communities is not addressed with effective measures.

“The onset of COVID-19 and the subsequent closure of schools within the last three months pose a threat to the gains made. The global health crisis can have far reaching implications for primary education unless measures are put in place to mitigate its effects, particularly on the education of children in the rural areas of the country,” Right To Play said.

On its part, Right To Play has since the start of April partnered with the Ghana Education Service at the district level to bring education to its target communities through “Supplemental Learning, Health and Psychosocial Support” to children and their families.

The program deploys volunteer teachers, members of community-based organizations and district education officials to pay home visits to sensitize families on COVID–19 and the preventive measures as well as the protocols that will help them to stay safe.

“In addition to that children are also taken through lessons provided with reading materials and assigned homework to help them continue to learn while at home,” the statement said.

A total of 15,000 have been reached through the project initiated by Right To Play representing 7,800 girls and 7,200 boys.

While commending the Ministry of Education and Ghana Education Service for their swift response through the introduction of digital lessons, Right To Play has encouraged these institutions to bridge the digital divide.

“In furtherance of inclusive education in this COVID-19 world, Right To Play wants to encourage the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to continue with their virtual lessons for the ultimate benefit of children while exploring ways of reaching out to those in hard-to-reach communities.”

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