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Belgium Suspends School Lessons, Closes Cafes And Restaurants Due To Coronavirus

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Belgium closes all cafés and restaurants, school lessons suspended from Monday Due To Coronavirus 

New measures are being taken to stop the spreading of Covid-19, as the number of positive cases is on the rise. Check the most important measures here. On Thursday night Belgium PM Wilmès announced cafés and restaurants would be closed, schools too starting Monday.  Schools will have to provide child care for the children of health workers. All recreational and sporting events are being cancelled.

  • GP’s have received new guidelines. Everyone who is nursing respiratory problems, will be treated as a potential corona patient and has to call the doctor (don’t go out to the doctor’s cabinet, but make a phone call). If you combine these symptoms with coughing or sneezing and/or fever, the doctor may send you to hospital to be tested. If you just have a cold, this is of course not the case, but you will have to stay home for seven days anyway. A doctor’s note will be issued, as doctors have received new guidelines.
  • All football games in the top flight will be played behind closed doors. Next Sunday will see the last day of play in the top flight before the play-offs, but there will be no spectators. The Cup Final, which would take place in 10 days, has been postponed. In amateur football and youth and women’s leagues, all games have been suspended until 31 March at least.
  • All cycle races have been suspended until the end of the month, the Flemish Sports minister Ben Weyts announced. However, the Belgian Cycling Union still hopes that classic races such as Nokere Koerse (18/3), the E3 Harelbeke (27/3) and Gent-Wevelgem (29/3) can be maintained.  There is no news yet about the Tour of Flanders, the annual highlight for many cycling fans, which is scheduled for Sunday 5 April.
  • Big cultural institutions in Antwerp and Brussels, such as De Singel, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen (Antwerp) and the KVS (Brussels) are cancelling all events until the end of March. Those that purchased a ticket, will receive a message. The renowned Brussels concert hall AB will close its doors until the end of the month.
  • The municipality of Knokke-Heist is taking drastic measures to stop corona. Knokke will go much further than other local authorities, scrapping all in- and outdoor activities and church services, and closing swimming pools, beach bars and libraries until 30 April. Shops and restaurants may follow soon. This means that Knokke-Heist will almost go into lockdown . “If they don’t act on a federal level, then I will take precautions myself”, Burgomaster Leopold Lippens said.
  • The city of Antwerp is closing all its sports and youth infrastructure. Local city services will apply a skeleton roster.  Leuven is shutting down all city buildings such as theatres and museums. All city activities are being scrapped until the end of March, says Mayor Mohamed Ridouani.  Ghent also cancels all events until 31 March.
  • Youth movements are cancelling all activities and events until the end of March. They announced this decision after a meeting with Youth Minister Benjamin Dalle.
  • Brussels Airlines has decided to reduce the number of flights with 45 percent in April.  Between 14 and 22 March, the airline cancels all flights to New York JFK. Flights to Italy are being cancelled until at least 3 April.

Source: FlandersNews 

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Education

Government spent GH¢40.4 billion on education between 2017 and 2020 – President Akufo-Addo

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“EXPENDITURE ON EDUCATION INCREASED BY 95% IN MY TIME” – PRESIDENT AKUFO-ADDO

President of Ghana. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

“So great has this government’s commitment to education been that public expenditure on education has almost doubled from twenty billion, seven hundred million cedis (GH¢20.7 billion) between 2013 and 2016, that is in the Mahama era, to forty billion, four hundred million cedis (GH¢40.4 billion) between 2017 and 2020, that is in the Akufo-Addo era, representing an increase of some ninety five percent (95%).”

These were the words of the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Tuesday, 4th January 2022, when he delivered a speech at the 6th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in Kumasi.

Addressing the gathering at the event, President Akufo-Addo noted that GNAT is what it is today because of the work of its past and current membership and leadership, and he assured that, under his administration, the work undertaken by the membership and leadership of the Association will not be in vain.

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The President, thus, used the opportunity to thank all teachers in the country for the work they did, and continue to do, in ensuring that the education of Ghanaian children, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, has not been truncated.

“Continuous assessment, the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) have all been written by thousands and thousands of students, under your care and guidance, in conditions of safety and orderliness, and without incident. The nation is extremely appreciative of these acts of selflessness and patriotism,” he said

According to President Akufo-Addo, his vision of a modern, competitive, Ghanaian economy, spearheaded by indigenous entrepreneurs, with productive employment for the great majority of its citizens, requires skilled economic actors, and to get there, the nation needs an educated workforce.

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“Through the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy, we are ensuring that value is being added to the intellect of every Ghanaian child. This is our surest way of succeeding in adding value to the Ghanaian economy, thereby helping to create acceptable, well-paying jobs for the young people of our country,” he said.

The President continued, “For us, in Ghana, also to make a success of our nation, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a group of well trained and motivated teachers that can help deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy and nation”.

Outlining the many initiatives implemented by Government since 2017, he stated that his government has restored, since coming into office five years ago, and continues to pay, teacher trainee allowances, which were abolished by the previous administration.

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“In addition to the yearly average increase in salaries over the last five (5) years, my government is, for the first time in our nation’s history, paying a professional allowance to teachers. We have abolished the three (3) months’ pay policy for teachers, we have cleared the arrears, and promotions due teachers have also been effected,” he said.

He stressed that to prevent undue delays in promotion of qualified teachers, Government will, in 2022, improve on the conduct of the aptitude test instituted by the Ghana Education Service, leveraging on lessons learnt from the one conducted in 2021.

Affordable Housing for Teachers

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“Government is also committed to the development of affordable housing for teachers all across the nation. The current initiative will involve the provision of housing for both mortgage and rental. I am fully aware that one challenge facing teacher ownership of homes beyond finance is their inability to purchase homes where they intend to retire,” he said.

Through a subsidised loan programme, President Akufo-Addo indicated that teachers will be provided an opportunity to own houses in desired locations in various parts of the country, stating that the Ministry of Education is working with the National Service Scheme on this.

In addition, the Ministry of Works and Housing is in discussion with teacher unions to provide more housing opportunities for teachers.

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“Within the next two years, it is proposed that ten thousand (10,000) housing units on affordable terms will be developed for teachers across the country. This, as we all know, is the tip of the iceberg, but it is a good beginning,” he added.

Touching on the vexed issue of laptops for teachers, President Akufo-Addo was glad the supply of laptops was appreciated by teachers, and promised that the other related matters of concern will be addressed.

“Good relations between GNAT and my government are matters of importance to me, and I will do my best to promote such relations,” he added.

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Source: The Presidency

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