THE country has been told that December 7, 2016 which is Election Day, is not a holiday. That announcement was made by the Minister of Interior, Prosper Bani, a couple of weeks ago.
SUBSEQUENTLY the Ghana Education Service (GES) also came out with a notice to all educational institutions in the country affirming what the Ministry of Interior had put out that Election Day is not a holiday for schools.
WHAT it means, therefore, is that on Election Day all eligible Ghanaian voters after voting must go back to their normal businesses. That is to say that workers must go to work after voting. The same applies to student and pupil voters who must also go back to the classroom.
IN the wake of this development we have heard calls for Election Day to be made a public holiday. And those who belong to this school of thought have argued that such a move will encourage more voters to exercise their franchise to decide who our leaders for the next four years must be.
THEY go on to make the case that since Wednesday, December 7, 2016 is a week day it would inconvenience the academic calendars of educational institutions and equally disrupt academic work, especially basic schools.
IT is in the light of the inconveniences the day would create, especially for pupils and students, that we call on GES to reconsider its earlier position.
IN the candid opinion of Today if the day will not even be declared a public holiday at least we can give the day off to our school children. We are making this plea particularly when many of the basic schools in this country serve as polling centres for general elections.
BUT in addition to that consideration, head teachers and teachers of these schools, as Ghanaians, will have to go and cast their votes. When they leave the classrooms for hours to go and join queues to vote, who takes care of the children left in the classroom? Has the GES given a thought to that one too?
IF anyone is worried about loss of days on the academic calendar, is it not possible to add that lost day at the end of the calendar and extend vacation date by one day? We need to give practical meaning to some directives because after all, the safety and convenience of human beings must always be considered ahead of any directive.
ALLOWING schools to be opened on polling day will not be in the best interest of our schools, especially those being used as polling centres. The distractions and inconveniences will be too much and not much meaningful teaching and learning will happen even at the most peaceful polling centres.
WE wish to appeal to GES to give consideration to allowing all schools to close on December 7 to minimise any disruptions as well as afford everyone, including those first time voters in school to have the opportunity to exercise their franchise.
THE fact of that matter is that we need every eligible Ghanaian voter to exercise his/her voting right on the day of voting, so that together we can make an informed choice on those we want to lead this country for the next four years.