The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has called on Ghana’s Education Service (GES) under the auspices of the Ministry of Education (MoE) to ban any political activities in Junior and Senior High Schools to ensure the protection and discipline of the prospective students.
The Coalition calls for the Service to impose a ban on political activities in first and second cycle institutions follows the misconduct of some 13 final year SHS students partaking the ongoing WASSCE leading to their dismissal and barring from writing the rest of their subject papers.
The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) believes the indiscipline acts of the WASSCE candidates is an influence of politics as students claim the reason behind the Akufo-Addo government procured past questions was for first batch of Free SHS beneficiaries to excel in the examination.
The Coalition in its statement signed by the interim Chair Joseph Homadzi copied to Georgeweb.org, condemned the “the gross misconduct of some teachers and final-year students [sitting] the West African Senior High School Examinations in various parts of the country.”
The Coalition noted that it “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 behaviour or any other acts of indiscipline by either students or teachers within or outside the school setting”.
“Inasmuch as the Coalition has always championed the fundamental right to education for every Ghanaian child, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised, we also hold the view that these same children must make the most of opportunities afforded them and understand that their rights come with commensurate responsibilities.”
According to the GNECC, “instilling a sense of discipline and integrity in children is an important part of education. The Coalition, therefore, commends the swift disciplinary actions by the Ghana Education Service 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.”
The GNECC is however of the opinion that “sanctions should not be detrimental to the welfare and prospects of the child” and, therefore, added its voice to “calls to allow these students to complete the examinations in order to avoid losing the considerable investment of time and scarce resources in their education.”
The Coalition also suggested for GES “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.”
It also reiterated calls for “strengthening and adequately resourcing the guidance and counselling structures in both basic and secondary schools to provide appropriate psycho-social support to those who may be having challenges with their studies.
The statement continued that: “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. Education is a shared responsibility and every stakeholder must play their role to ensure proper development of the country’s human resources.”
GNECC also reiterated its 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” and called on the GES “to enforce its ban on political activities in first and second cycle schools in the country in order to protect” children.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Education Service (GES) in response to President Akufo-Addo’s plea for the students to partake with their examination has permitted for the 13 dismissed students to continue with the rest of their papers adding that “they must be escorted to the examination centre with a guardian and leave the premises at the end of each paper.”