A youth group Coalition of Ghanaian Youth has called for a nationwide investigation into the abuse of girls in schools.

Widespread allegations of abuse of girls at the Ejisuman Senior High School in the Ashanti Region recently triggered the establishment of a special investigative committee which has recommended sanctions against some teachers for the act.

But a statement from the group called for the widening of the investigation to cover the entire country.

“Institute a nationwide investigation into this act to ascertain the gravity of the act and elicit context-specific policy and strategies to safeguard all students,” the statement noted.

Below is the full statement:

COALITION FOR GHANA YOUTH FEDERATION CALL ON GES AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS TO ADDRESS SEXUAL ABUSE IN SCHOOLS

Following recent reports of sexual scandals in Schools, The Coalition for the Ghana Youth Federation (Co-GYF) is of the view that this practice has been condoned for far too long in our schools and it is time to STOP IT.  The Coalition is calling on the Ghana Education Service (GES), Parent and Teacher Associations (PTAs), School Management Committees (SMC), Traditional Authorities, Teacher Unions, the Ministry of Education, the National Youth Authority (NYA), the Ministry of Youth and Sports, The Ministry of Children, Gender and Social Protection, the Media, Civil Society and all other relevant stakeholders to urgently take proactive action to protect and save the future of the girl child and our society. It is important to note that some victims of this abuse never fully recover even though the perpetrators are left to continue their lives as usual.

Sexual abuse, especially of children, has serious consequences on the victims and society. In fact, several linkages can be drawn to the act, unfortunately, all these linkages are adverse. The act perpetuates a distorted understanding of the way of life to the victims who are mostly girls and discriminatorily undermines the quality of their education.

Consequently, these children miss out on the opportunity to realise their full potential, gravely undermining the future of the child and tacitly working against women empowerment and gender equality. The deadly threat is that society is gradually getting convinced that it is okay! 

Teachers who engage in amorous relations with their students betrays not only the confidence or trust placed in them but the development and life of the young ones. Eventually, it will amount to an illusion to expect Ghana’s workforce (population within the age of 15 and 64) to accrue the needed benefits (demographic dividends) while the act persists.

The Coalition is most worried about the tokenistic approach with which these issues are addressed. We need more than that if we have to win the fight against this entrenched canker.

We, therefore, call on the GES to lead collaborative efforts to take immediate steps and actions not only to ensure justice for the currently affected girls but to implement an explicitly disseminated policy and long-term measures on prevention and handling of ‘sexual’ cases in Schools.

We respectfully propose that GES, PTA, Teacher Unions, NYA, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and other stakeholders consider the following actions to address this canker:

– Institute a nationwide investigation into this act to ascertain the gravity of the act and elicit context-specific policy and strategies to safeguard all students.  This policy should be conscious of the critical role of guidance and counselling centres in protecting students.

– launch a nationwide advocacy campaign detailing the ‘what to do strategies’ and guidelines for students from basic to tertiary schools. Publish in all Schools the “what to dos”

– Explore the use of technology to address the issue

– Beyond transfer of culprit-teachers, assign and implement stricter measures to address the violation of codes of conduct for teachers and students especially relating to the protection of children from torture and degrading treatments in sexual misconducts 

We draw inspiration from the fact that “schooling is the most common means by which societies prepare their young for the future” and no child must be denied such opportunity.

The Coalition for The Ghana Youth Federation is an amalgamation of youth groups, youth-led organisation and youth-oriented CSOs advocating for youth development and the establishment of the Ghana Youth Federation (GYF) as stipulated in the National Youth Authority ACT 2016 (ACT 939)

Signed

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Coalition for GHANA YOUTH FEDERATION

 

 

 

 

 

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