Sanctioning head teachers of pupils who participated in ‘wn gbo’ demo not tactical – Baako

Editor –in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper has said government’s decision to sanction some head teachers whose pupils participated in the ‘wᴐn gbo’ demonstration might send wrong signals to the public.

He said the Education Ministry and the Ghana Education Service (GES) may have genuine concerns about the pupil’s involvement but have failed to handle to situation in the most suitable manner.

Speaking on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokroko’, the veteran journalist said “if I were the Ministry of Education, I will not have reacted the way they have. As far as I’m concerned, that [decision to sanction the head teachers] is tactless.

“Some think it is a reflection of panic and seeks to divert attention and undermine the credibility and success of the demonstration even though it might not be so”, he added.

Mr Baako admitted that although he has not seen the GES guidelines which have purportedly been breached by the head teachers, nor has he any idea when the guidelines were instituted, he was quick to point out that the manner in which the ministry is threatening to sanction the heads is not appropriate.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) staged a massive demonstration last week to drum home their dissatisfaction on the current erratic power supply in the country and government’s failure to address the many issues which plague the nation.

Video recordings of the demonstration show some school pupils being shepherded by demonstrators during class hours.

Some of the pupils could be seen and heard chanting “Mahama is a ‘dumsor’…Mahama is a ‘dumsor”.

As the videos went viral, the GES and Education Ministry have sanctioned the head teachers of the four schools whose pupils were seen in the videos.

Deputy Education Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa said the head teachers have breached the GES guidelines which prohibits basic school pupils from participating in demonstrations of such nature.

He said the possibility of the demonstration turning violent was probable hence the involvement of the pupils puts their lives at risk.

He added that the decision to punish the head teachers was not to victimize them but to ensure that the safety and security of children in schools is guaranteed.

But Mr Baako said if indeed the guidelines of the GES indicate that school pupils should not participate or solidarise with demonstrators, the head teachers should not have been subjected to public scrutiny.

In his view, the management of what the GES and the Education Ministry perceive as a violation of the guidelines is not proper. “It could have been done in a different way. The head teachers should have been called privately and questioned”.

On how effective sanctioning the head teachers will be, Mr Baako said he doubts if they will be sanctioned at all.

“At the end of the day there is no way they can sanction anybody and so what was the use of the publicity stunt. Some people might also think that it is way of creating some intimidatory environment”.

He indicated that if the GES and the Education Ministry desire to prevent school pupils from partaking in demonstrations, they might as well close down all schools which are on the routes demonstrators take during demonstrations.

“If we feel that because of the potential for violence during demonstrations, anytime we agree that people should demonstrate and pass areas where there are schools, then we must give pupils a break anytime there are demonstrations.

“But it might not sound reasonable to always close down schools because of demonstration, its impact on the pupils education must also be considered”, he added.

He however advised that authorities handling the issues should do it in a manner that does not give room for people to read meanings into it.

  Story by Ghana | | Naa Sakwaba Akwa | [email protected]

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