By Janet Abena Quainoo
Ghana has not been the same since the first case of coronavirus was reported in early 2020. Following the reports from both prints and digital media, the mortality rate has been reported to be on the low with the total cases standing at 91,928 with a recovered number of 89,729 and total deaths of 777 as of April 25, 2021.
Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, there has been a systemic failure in taking decisions that would positively affect the lives of Ghanaian citizens. Corruption, nepotism, and all forms of vices has been making headlines. The Future of Education -COVID-19 and its associated school closures present significant challenges for Ghana’s education system. Ghanaian children were out of school from March 2020 until January 2021, losing out on the hours of learning that the structured school setting presents along with other benefits such as the school feeding program. Under the present conditions, research and data offer guidance to inform the reopening of schools. On March 11, 2021, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) hosted a webinar presenting emerging data on the effects of COVID-19 on education in Ghana. Students in some rural communities studying under trees without classrooms have been greatly affected without any support from the government to ensure they are not left behind on their right to education. Some non-profit organizations such as; Proswrites Foundation, Hacklab Foundation, Save a street child Foundation and many others took to mobilizing resources for intervention programs to benefit youths in developing skills in digital and soft skills through organizing virtual mentoring and other projects to enhance their development.
While we may not be out of the woods yet with the pandemic, one thing remains true. A reset of our education system is necessary. Especially if we are committed to unlocking human capabilities and harnessing the demographic dividend of the continent. The socio-economic background of a family should not determine a child’s ability to access quality education or become successful in life. African governments must boldly pursue a collaborative approach in transforming education and enforce digital inclusion by investing in both basic and digital infrastructure such as digital public service delivery, internet coverage, and data storage capacity among others.
By laying the groundwork for improved access to services and technologies, we will be bridging the gaps in learning and teaching which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agriculture and Infrastructure Development-Agriculture sustains more than half of Ghana’s labour force, mostly as smallholders who cultivate their own plots of land with their families. Agriculture makes up 54% of Ghana’s GDP and over 40% of export earnings. It also covers over 90% of Ghana’s own food needs. COVID-19 severely endangers this vital sector, with potentially disastrous knock-on effects for both producers and consumers. But Ghana is also showing what governments can do to support their farmers, prevent a food crisis, and create a more inclusive and sustainable way forward. Many private-sector firms have empowered farmers through the pandemic period. Various community educational campaigns inform farmers of the virus, its symptoms and how to protect themselves. These campaigns spread health information via radio broadcasts, vans with loudspeakers, as well as text messages and mobile voice messages sent to farmers ‘phones in local languages such as Twi for maximum reach.
HealthCare -Healthcare is paramount in the development of the country. Most of the frontline workers had received PPEs in their fight against the spread of the coronavirus. Through the pandemic, our healthcare system has been exposed to its inability to meet the demand of reported coronavirus cases. Looking at the rate at which most of the situations have been handled for health workers, hopefully, the government provides incentives to prick the interest of young people to pursue careers in healthcare and improvement on the facilities across the country.
Youth Employment & Business Support -The global pandemic has affected businesses in the country with the majority of employees losing their daily means of income. The situation has been worse since there has been an emergency budget allocated for most employees in both the public and private sector to benefit from the benevolence of the government apart from the stimulus package for businesses which was also not well disbursed for businesses that suffered most. Post covid19, there would be more calls to the government and private sector to diversify the employment opportunities with technology and digital skills transformation as the population of the youths in Ghana is on the rise.