We woke up to the news that the Ghana Education Service has sacked some 8 students of the Chiana Senior High School in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East region.
In a leaked letter to the parents of the students, the GES said the conduct of the students was “considered very undesirable and contrary to the acceptable standards of conduct generally required of any student in our educational system in Ghana”.
Their crime is public knowledge. During the early parts of November last year, a video went viral on social media involving the said students who were heard insulting the President, Nana Akuffo-Addo.
That, I must say was very unfortunate and condemnable. The students used very vulgar and unprintable words on our president. And emphasis must be made that it was unfortunate, unacceptable and must be condemned.
But how does that merit the sacking of these young girls from school, denying them their right to education as recognized in Article 25 of the 1992 constitution of Ghana and also goal 4 of the SDGs.
In May 2010, a private legal practitioner Ace Ankomah said it was not an offence per the Criminal Code of Ghana to insult the President.
This was after one Alexander Adu Gyamfi had described President Mills of blessed memory as a “chimpanzee”. That was also very unfortunate and he should have known better.
If indeed insulting the President is not an offence, why is the Ghana Education Service putting the future of those kids into jeopardy over ‘non-offensive conduct’?
We must recognize counselling as one of the important components of our educational system if we want to avert some of these things and to ensure young people feel safe in school.
Our education managers must recognize the psychological needs of young people and begin to make provisions for the same. What these kids needed was a safe space to share their frustrations and we failed at that, what they again need today is counselling not sacking.
The Ghana Education Service has banned corporal punishment in all government schools, they have however adopted several other forms of punishment to help keep students in check.
The reason GES refused to employ any of these forms of punishment, in this case, is still a question for the gods to answer.
The Ghana Education Service could have just invited their parents with the kids to sign a bond of good behaviour including other forms of punishment, instead, the GES chose to increase the number of school drops in the country.
Help me congratulate the Ghana Education Service for a good job done.
Contributor: Ken Edward
Disclaimer: The author is a student journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. Views expressed in the article are entirely his and do not in any shape or form represent the position of the Media General Group.