By Patrick Biddah
A total of 23 students in the Asunafo North municipality of the Ahafo region, got impregnated during the shut down of schools last year.
These girls who are aged between 15 and 20, were final year students who returned to school to sit for both Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The Director For Education for the Asunafo North municipality ,Madam Margaret Buobu, disclosed this to Journalists during a disinfection exercise of some basic and senior high schools in the municipality of the Ahafo region ahead of the reopening of schools on January 15, for basic schools and January 18 for senior high schools.
The 23 students, she explained got involved in many activities while at home and got themselves impregnated.
The Municipal Director, therefore expressed her delight about the reopening of the schools which will bring the female students under the control and supervision of their headmasters and headmistresses to avert any further teenage pregnancy among the students.
The Education Directorate, she noted has already embarked on a programme called, "Back To School Campaign", which is aimed at renewing the interest of the children to get them back to school which will get them busy and more productive.
Whiles expressing her delight about the reopening in view of the teenage pregnancies it will curtail, she expressed reservation about the ability to observe the social distancing protocol.
In her explanation, there has not been additional infrastructure of some of the facilities in the schools which will make it difficult to space out the students ,saying the feasible option is to run dining in batches.
She also complained of not having received the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which was promised by government to be given to the schools for onward distribution to the students and their teachers.
Some of the schools which were disinfected today are; the Ahafoman senior high school. The other basic schools which were also disinfected in the Asunafo North municipality of the Ahafo region are the Roman Catholic Cluster of Schools ,the Roman Catholic A& B Basic School , the Roman Catholic Junior High School , the Ahafoman Basic School and the Methodist Primary and Junior High School as well as the Rapid Preparatory school in Sunyani.
In all, 692 basic schools, 31 senior high schools and one tertiary school were disinfected in the Ahafo region. The 692 basic schools, include both private and public schools.
At the Ahafoman senior high school after the disinfection , the Assistant Headmaster of the school In-charge of Domestic, Frank Opoku Kusi , assured parents of the safety of their wards when school reopens for academic work.
He said all the protective and safety measures, have been put in place to guarantee the safety of the students when they return to school after the long break.
Giving this assurance in an interview with Journalists, Mr. Opoku Kusi, said the disinfection of the school which is currently ongoing across the country in other schools by waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana Limited in partnership with government through the Ministry of Education has helped to secure the safety of the students.
The assurance by the assistant headmaster is in light of the concerns being expressed by parents over the re-opening and their exposure to the corona virus.
The assurance to the parents, according to him is based on the fact that the two earlier disinfection exercises for the final year students and the second years last year prevented any outbreak in the school, adding that there were left-overs of PPE which will be distributed to the students whiles they await the complimentary ones from government.
On his part, the Zoomlion Regional Manager for Ahafo, Edward Ziddah, stressed that there have not been any challenge so far .
According to him, there have been uninterrupted access to all the schools they have been to so far making the exercise smooth.
Mr Ziddah, who spoke with the media about his company's performance further indicated that they would continue to use the World Health Organization (WHO) approved chemicals for the disinfection which have proven to be non harmful.