Social Change Communication undergraduate, Ms Doris Pokua Obeng has longed for opportunity to undertake industrial attachment to experience life at real workplace and also to improve her curriculum vitae to enhance her chances of landing a job after school.
Ms Pokua, a level 300 student of the University for Development Studies (UDS), Nyankpala Campus, therefore, was fully prepared to live her dreams during the University’s May to July students’ internship window when she would be placed at an organisation in Sunyani for her internship.
However, the unexpected happened when the country recorded her first two cases of COVID-19 on March 12, forcing President Nana Akufo-Addo to announce directives including; closure of schools and lockdowns in a bid to contain the disease in the country.
Most organisations in the country followed it up with staff rotations as well as staff working from home to reduce the number of employees at offices to help halt the spread of the disease.
This measure came as a blow to many students, who were billed to go for internship across the country, as most organisations were not ready to accept them in this era of COVID-19.
So far, the country’s COVID-19 case count has surpassed 14,000 out of which over 10,400 have recovered and 85 have died.
Ms Obeng told the Ghana News Agency that “I am in the house doing nothing and it is very boring. In view of fear of getting infected with the disease, I’m just in the house. I don’t go anywhere. I’m not happy with it.”
She said it would be unfair if she did not do the attachment, saying “I wish we will have another opportunity to do it because it is important for us. We need to be trained. We need to experience life at the workplace before completing school.”
She said much as it was discomforting for her to be home now, it was equally important to stay home because “Our health is also important, we need to observe the safety protocols.”
Master Bright Vokawol, also a level 300 student at UDS, Nyankpala Campus, pursuing Social Change Communication, who was to undertake his internship at an organisation in Bolgatanga, said he was feeling bored in the house and therefore, had engaged in some activities to keep him busy to deal with the boredom.
He appealed to the government to do something about the situation to ensure that students undertook their internship, which would have a great impact on their lives.
GNA understands that organisations are supposed to award marks to interns based on their performance during internship, and interns are also required to make presentations back at school about their experiences during the internship, all of which attract marks to grade them.
It is, therefore, unclear how the students will be graded since the internship did not happen.
Mr Shaibu Abdul-Fatawu, Student Internship Coordinator, Department of Communication, Innovation and Technology at the UDS, Nyankpala Campus told GNA that no definite decision was taken on how to assess or grade the students in relation to the fact that they did not undertake the internship.
Mr Abdul-Fatawu said about 200 students from the Department were supposed to be on internship from May to July, expressing hope that if organisations put in place internal safety protocols that would be observed by all, they should be able to accept the students to undertake their internships.
Mr Peter Mintir Amadu, Psychologist and Executive Director of Total Life Enhancement Centre, Ghana said the students needed to find appropriate ways to cope with the anxiety, stress and uncertainty that they were going through in the house.
He suggested that they should develop daily plan of activities such as trying their hands at new things and linking up socially with friends to help deal with their worries and avoid being idle.