Regional Education Director’s Folly

Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister of Education

The story about a Regional Director of Education whipping a female teacher in front of her pupils made worrying reading yesterday and rightly so.

The director is said to have taken the action in reaction to the female teacher’s caning of some pupils for being late to school. Unfortunately however, her reported action is worse than the female teacher’s, and we call for an appropriate sanction to be taken against her after a thorough probe.

This is an indiscretion a regional director with her wealth of experience should not have taken. The temptation to react before thinking is what overwhelmed her; the repercussions on the kids who witnessed the inappropriate action can only be imagined.

Perhaps the local authorities should consider transferring her from the school just so the humiliation she suffered would not affect her productivity in the classroom.

The officer’s power as regional director on teachers was abused and we are constrained to condemn her in no uncertain terms, no matter how hard the local authorities seek to veneer what really happened.

We are amazed that the director failed to understand what her action could visit on her integrity. Now that the issue is definitely going to attract the attention of her superiors at the national level, whatever befalls her she should bear her own cross.

As heads of state institutions and their branches, we must exercise our powers with discretion as we simultaneously restrain our tempers. The director could have invited the teacher to her office and reprimanded her for the action she took against the kids instead of flipping and taking the action. Coming against the backdrop of the outlawing of whipping pupils in our schools, the matter under review becomes even more interesting because of its two-pronged nature: the female teacher breached the regulation banning caning of kids and the director went overboard by caning a teacher in front of her pupils.

The family members of the female teacher or her husband – if she is married – could have descended upon the director, triggering an avoidable ado in full glare of the pupils.

Discipline should be the hallmark of persons in public service, and so when such irresponsible conduct originates from top level personalities, we have cause to be disappointed and even fret that we are losing a vital ingredient.

Indiscipline among school children stems from what they observe as they grow up – the kind of scenario which the kids witnessed when their teacher was being flogged standing out as smelly example.

That certainly was not a good picture and we think anything short of a disciplinary action would be inappropriate.

We have already witnessed manouvres to keep the case out of the public space. What is internal about a director of education whipping a female teacher in front of pupils as the local authorities are trying to tag the case and kill it?

We shall follow developments thereof because it is a public interest story. It is our responsibility to point out what is wrong in society so we can all witness progress in our daily activities as a people.