Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has condemned the gross misconduct of some teachers and final year students writing the West African Senior High School Examinations (WASSCE) in various parts of the country.
The Coalition commends the swift disciplinary actions by the Ghana Education Service (GES) against the students involved.
“We believe the sanctions meted out are adequate enough to deter other students from engaging in similar acts”.
The Coalition is of the view that all culprits must face the consequences of their actions.
A statement signed by the Interim Chairman of the Coalition, Joseph Homadzi, explained further that, While the Coalition promotes respect for the fundamental rights of children to free quality education as provided in the 1992 constitution, and further amplified in various international conventions including the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), “we do not support riotous behavior or any other acts of indiscipline by either students or teachers within or outside the school setting”.
Much as the Coalition has always championed the fundamental right to education for every Ghanaian child, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized, we also hold the view that these same children must make the most of the opportunities afforded them and understand that their rights come with commensurate responsibilities. They noted
“In our view, instilling a sense of discipline and integrity in children is an important part of education”.
That notwithstanding, the coalition is of the view that the application of sanctions should not be detrimental to the welfare and prospects of the child.
They, therefore, request that these students be allowed to complete the examinations in order to avoid losing the considerable investment of time and scarce resources in their education.
The Coalition proposes that the Ghana Education Service reviews its directive in accordance with the Children’s Act, 1998 (Sections 2 and 13), and the principle of non-retrogression as provided in various international conventions to which the State has committed.
The positive discipline protocols developed by the Ghana Education Service should also serve as a guide as to the form and degree of punishment that ought to be given to the students most of whom may be first time offenders.
The coalition reiterates calls for strengthening and adequately resourcing the guidance and counseling structures in both basic and secondary schools to provide appropriate psycho-social support to those who may be having challenges with their studies.
Parents are also critical stakeholders in education and play an essential role in shaping the child’s character. In line with this, the Coalition calls on parents to take more active roles in instilling positive values in children and not leave the responsibility entirely to schools.
They noted that Education is a shared responsibility and every stakeholder must play their role to ensure proper development of the country’s human resources.
“We wish also to reiterate our demand that partisan political activities, whether direct or indirect, are kept away from schools since it has the potential to undermine efforts to maintain discipline in the schools”.
The coalition called on the Ghana Education Service to enforce its ban on political activities in first and second cycle schools in the country in order to protect our children.
By Ophelia Allotey