Ghana News Agency (Accra) – The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has urged the Ghana Education Service (GES) to enforce the ban on political activities in first- and second-cycle schools to protect children from unhealthy political activities.
A statement signed by Joseph Homadzi, interim chair of the GNECC, said partisan political activities, whether direct or indirect, must be kept away from schools because they had the potential to undermine efforts to maintain discipline.
The statement condemned the “gross misconduct” of 13 final-year students writing the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in various parts of Ghana as well as the conduct of some teachers.
The coalition promotes respect for the fundamental rights of children to free quality education, as set out in the 1992 constitution, it said, which is amplified through various international conventions and the UNs Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4). However, it does not support riotous behaviour or any other acts of indiscipline by either students or teachers in or outside the school setting.
Rights and responsibilities
The statement said that, much as the coalition had always championed the fundamental right to education for every Ghanaian child, and particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised, it also believes that these same children must make the most of opportunities given them and understand that their rights always come with commensurate responsibility.
The statement said, “In our view, 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 GES against the students involved. We believe the sanctions meted out are adequate to deter other students from engaging in similar acts.”
The GNECC said all culprits must face the consequences of their actions.
“That notwithstanding, as an organisation that has promoted access to quality and relevant education for every Ghanaian child for more than 20 years, our position is that the application of sanctions should not be detrimental to the welfare and prospects of the child.
“We therefore add our voice to calls to allow these students to complete the examinations to avoid losing the considerable investment of time and scarce resources in their education,” the statement said.
As such, GNECC proposes, the GES mut review its directive under the Children’s Act 1998 (Sections 2 and 13), and the principle of non-retrogression, as provided in various international conventions to which the country has committed.
GNECC said, “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.
“We also reiterate our calls for strengthening and adequately resourcing the guidance and counselling structures in both basic and secondary schools to provide appropriate psychosocial support to those who may be having challenges with their studies.”
The statement said parents are also critical stakeholders in education and play an essential role in shaping the child’s character.
The coalition therefore urged 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,” the statement said.