Head teachers of some four schools whose pupils were heard and captured taunting President John Mahama during the New Patriotic Party’s ‘wá´n gbo’ demonstration last Wednesday will be sanctioned by the Ghana Education Service.
This is according to the Deputy Education Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa who found the situation totally unacceptable on the part of the head teachers.
Head teachers of the Mantse Takie 1 and 3 Primary (Christiana Hanson Nortey), Liberty Avenue 1 and 4 (Ernestina Ofori Attah) , Liberty Avenue 3 (Magarete Amankra) and Reverend Ernest Bruce Memorial School (Lucy Kanyagui Adeku) have been cautioned by the Ghana Education Service as a first step in the disciplinary processes which have begun.
He described the pupils who were captured by news outlets chanting uncomplimentary songs about the President as a breach of rules and regulations by the Service.
Speaking on Radio Gold’s new analysis programme ‘Alhaji and Alhaji’, Mr Ablakwa said he was appalled at the participation of the school children in the demonstration and that it was “a flagrant violation of all our regulations and policies on how management of schools should be carried out”.
He said the constitution frowns on children in second cycle and basic schools being subjected or allowed to participate in political activities because it exposes them to danger.
Only students in tertiary institutions are allowed to engage in political activities because they are considered as matured and well informed enough to make meaningful contributions.
“Our own GES guidelines frown on children being subjected to partisan politics in our schools all the way to our second cycle institutions. It is only at the tertiary level that per our educational policies, political parties can organise political activities because at that level they are adults.
“The guidelines at second cycle and basic school are that children ought to be protected and preserved and not allowed to participate in these political activities”, he added.
Mr Ablakwa who is also the Member of Parliament for North Tongu District said head teachers are expected to at all times watch over children and protect them not only in the instances of political activities but at all times to ensure that they are safe.
“The GES guidelines say that at all times head teachers must protect children and that is what I am concerned about not really the politics of it, but the vulnerability that you subject the children to when you look the other way and permit them to participate in demonstrations of this nature”.
He indicated that parents who take their children to school expect that they are watched over and protected from harm.
“I don’t think that Nana Addo will be happy to hear that his grand child in school somewhere in the country has been left to run out of school to join demonstrators.”
He said the GES has instituted an investigations into the occurrence so that full disciplinary actions are carried out.
This is to ensure that policies and guidelines are respected by all and children are protected, he said.
The head teacher of the Reverend Ernest Bruce School in a response to a query by the GES said “school was in session as usual on the said date until 10 am when pupils went on break. It was just then that the demonstrators got to Reverend Ernest Bruce basic school gate, pupils tried to go out but the security men locked the gate.
However pupils stood at the school compound and responded to slogans by some demonstrators who had come close to the gate because pupils could see them through the metal gate”, he continued.
With respect to the Mantse Tackie Liberty Cluster of Schools, the head teachers noted that the pupils were also on break when noise from the demonstrators made teachers and head teachers rush to see what was happening only to find out that some pupils were outside the gate.
“We managed to try and get the pupils back to their classrooms, however some demonstrators kept urging the children on by shouting slogans to which some of the pupils responded. Insults were rained on head teachers who insisted that the pupils return to their classrooms but the situation was eventually put under control”, the statement added.
The head teachers have apologised for the unfortunate incident and promised to ensure that pupils will be kept in their classrooms in future demonstrations of such nature.
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