The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition (GNECC) has urged the Ghana Education Service (GES) to enforce its ban on political activities in first and second cycle schools in to protect the children from unhealthy political activities.
A statement signed by Joseph Homadzi, Interim Chair of the Coalition, said partisan political activities, whether direct or indirect must be kept away from schools because it had the potential to undermine efforts to maintain discipline.
The GNECC, the statement said, condemned “the gross misconduct” of some final year students writing the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) in various parts of the country and some teachers.
While the Coalition it said, promoted the respect for the fundamental rights of children to free quality education as provided in the 1992 constitution, which was amplified in various international conventions, and the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4); it did not support riotous behaviour or any other acts of indiscipline by either students or teachers within or outside the school setting.
The statement said much as the Coalition had always championed the fundamental right to education for every Ghanaian child, particularly, the most vulnerable and marginalised, it also held the view that these same children must make the most of opportunities afforded them and understand that their rights came with commensurate responsibilities.
“In our view, instilling a sense of discipline and integrity in children is an important part of education,” it said.
“The Coalition, therefore, commends the swift disciplinary actions by the GES, against the students involved.
“We believe the sanctions meted out are adequate enough to deter other students from engaging in similar acts.”
All culprits, the Coalition said, 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,” it said.
“We, therefore, add our 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 GES, it proposed, should therefore, review 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 had committed to.
“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,” it said.
“We also reiterate our 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 said parents were also critical stakeholders in education and played 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,” it said.
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