The Head of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) says the government must sit up in the fight against sexual abuse in schools.
Dr Kojo Asante believes the increasing rate of sexual offences especially in basic and Senior High Schools is the result of lack of a desire by the appropriate authorities to make an example of those found culpable.
Speaking to the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Monday, Dr Asante noted that presidency and cabinet as a whole should prioritise the issue as much as they do with infrastructural development.
“We cannot just focus on building roads…it has to be discussed at cabinet level to make sure that this is curbed as quickly as possible and it will not require a huge amount of money to do it. This goes to the soul and morality of any nation,” he told host Daniel Dadzie.
“I think by now cabinet should have been discussing this and the Ghana Education Service should also come on board. This has to be elevated to a much higher priority and people tasked with things to do,” he added.
Contrary to the notion that these issues persist due to economic reasons, Dr Asante argued that lack of accountability is largely to blame.
The democratic and governance expert argued if the whip is cracked on these offenders, it would deter others.
He added that should such abuses occur in a highbrow school, the offender would be punished severely.
“I think it’s about the accountability systems…you will not attempt this at GIS or Morning Star, the sanctions will be immediate and the preventive measures are clear,” he said.
He added that the sanctions that GES applies in cases abuse are “terrible”.
“…people just get transferred and things are handled outside the criminal justice system and there’s no threat to liberty or economic status,” he lamented.
Dr Asante added that the planned licensing of teachers will receive his full support because it would serve as a control measure in such cases.
“This is the kind of thing that takes away your license so for me I support the license system,” he said.
The advocate’s comments come after a Joy News story of a nine-year-old girl in the Central regional town of Kasoa who now struggles to walk after she has been allegedly sexually assaulted by her teacher.
The teacher is said to have inserted his fingers into the vagina of the Primary Two pupil after offering to teach her what she had missed when she reported late to vacation classes.
"…he put me on one of the tables and started inserting his fingers into my genitals. It was painful, I started struggling with him,” she told Joy News Maxwell Agbagba.
During the sexual act, however, the victim in her attempt to flee, fell off the table and hit her pelvis on another table in the classroom.
The relatives of the girl tell Joy News the teacher has attempted to dissuade from pursuing the case legally but they didn’t budge. The case is in court and has been adjourned to September 12.