The First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei-Owusu has stated that references made to the Rastafarian religion and the 2 students who were refused enrolment into Achimota School may complicate matters for the young men.

This, he says, is because of the misconception held by some against some of practices of the religion.

According to Mr Osei-Owusu, Rastafarianism is mostly associated with weed smoking, a practice he believes may worsen the situation in resolving the issue of finding admission for the 2 first-year students.

“I get worried in the attempt to rope in Rastafarianism as religion. If we do that, then we complicate the matter. The reason is this: If you study Rastafarianism, it includes the smoking of weed and weed is an illegal substance. It is not a substance that is permitted to be smoked”.

The argument, according to him, should rather be based on whether the authorities of the school have the right to turn down a student’s admission based on his/her appearance or hairstyle and not based on religion.

He said, “We can look at it from the point of view of ‘Does Achimota school have the right to prescribe a way of dressing appearance for its school including the hairstyle?’ If we look at it from that view we can discuss the matter across the board. Just that if we bring in religion we complicate the matters.  

“The condition is that a young man having been offered admission at Achimota school having obtained the appropriate grades, the only thing is that the school has rules and regulations. You can use this school for your training purposes if you abide by these rules and regulations. Does that amount to denying him the right to education? That is the question we must answer,” he emphasized.

His submission comes after the authorities of Achimota School last week denied two students who were posted there under the Computer School Placement System (CSSPS) enrolment because the rules of the school do not allow students with dreadlocks to be admitted.

The school authorities were insistent that unless the students cut off their dreadlocks, they will not be admitted.

The two students have, however, maintained their position and refused to cut off their locks stating that keeping their hair is the religious right of the Rastafarian.

Nonetheless, the deputy speaker is of the view that, if the boys are not willing to compromise with the school’s directive, they should desist from saying they were denied admission to the school.

”If you choose not to comply with them (the school’s directives) I don’t think it should lie in your mouth to say that I have been denied education.”