Advocates for Christs Ghana, a not-for-profit organization, says the Wesley Girls High School (Weygeyhey) Non-Fasting Policy is evidently neutral, factually non-discriminatory and aligned with the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
A Member of Advocacy for Christ Ghana, Dr Nana Esi Gaisie Tetteh, said the Non-Fasting Policy of the School, was instituted by the School’s Board in the 1990s because some Christians who had been fasting ended up collapsing, and causing near fatalities as well as traumatizing other students from ever considering or attempting to repeat this or engage in same.
She said Wesley Girls High School, Cape Coast, named after John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, had recently been in the news for the wrong reasons, other than its sterling academic achievements, adding that “this had been a major source of concern for the Christian Community in the country.”
Dr Tetteh was addressing a press conference in Accra on Thursday dubbed: “Setting the Records Straight: The Wesley Girls Fasting Brouhaha”.
She noted that in April, the School was oddly accused of discriminating against Muslims with regard to Ramadan fasting.
She said the accusation was not just unusual, but manifestly untrue given various documented key antecedents and known facts which prove that these accusations were baseless and without merit.
Dr Tetteh said the School’s Board and the (Methodist) Church decided that in spite of the fact they believed wholeheartedly in fasting as a spiritual discipline, however, based on past experiences, fasting was evidently neither paramount nor a major focus for their being in school.
Consequently, for the three year Senior High School (SHS) period, they would not allow their wards to fast or allow any other Christian/religious groups to influence them to fast, whilst in School.
“Bearing in mind that this decision has not prevented all the other spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible/Quran reading from continuing in the School.”
She said for the avoidance of doubt, they wished to place it on record that there was already a legal precedent on the issue of granting religious rights and its potential impact on the management of educational institutions in a similar case.
She cited a Ghana News Agency (GNA) news item, dated Friday, November 11, 2005,with the headline, “Court throws out the SDA Students’ motion on examination dates” to back her
According to the GNA news item, 149 students pursuing various courses at the University led by Mr Emmanuel Adu Poku prayed the Court for an order of interlocutory injunction to restrain the University from conducting examinations on November 19; November 26; December 3 and December 10, which are Saturdays.
They were also seeking perpetual injunction to restrain agents and servants of the University among others not to compel them to participate in academic activities including writing examinations on Saturdays.
The motion said the University’s conduct of rescheduling examinations on Saturdays for courses offered was “illegal, unlawful and breach of human rights”.
In an affidavit supporting the motion, the students declared that they were all members of the SDA, who sincerely practised the SDA religious faith that did not allow them to engage in any secular activity or work on Saturday (The Sabbath Day).
These activities, she said, included attending lectures and tutorials or seminars.
Madam Tetteh recalled that the court ruled in favour of the University of Ghana, recognizing the University’s authority to and responsibilities in providing education whilst dismissing the religious discrimination as grounds for action.
She said it was no discrimination so long as it was not targeted at a particular group and applied equally to all students.
“We are of the firm opinion that the basis of the SDA Students’ case dismissal will equally apply in this Wesley Girls High School case as well,” she said.
“We want to emphasize that the State and religious body relationships are crucial for developing and providing the infrastructural needs of the nation. Consequently, it is in the interest of the State for such relationships to continue to be nurtured and promoted.”
Advocates for Christ Ghana is a growing movement of professionals, parents, pastors and of Christians seeking to provide a permanent and proactive voice on national issues in Ghana.
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