Do you agree that there are some old-fashioned rules hindering education development in Ghana? In fact, they exist and we need to focus on forward-looking initiatives and changes if we are to address them. One of these rules was what the authorities of Achimota SHS applied to the students with dreadlocks.
Rules Cannot Deny Students Their Right to Education
The right to education of every child is fundamental and enshrined in the 1992 constitution of Ghana, hence no set of rules by the Ghana Education Service can deny any student the right to access education.
This is in connection to the attempt by Achimota Senior High School authorities to apply an out-of-date policy when two first-year students with dreadlocks reported to the school.
Old-Fashioned Rules Hindering Education – Dreadlocks Means No Education?
Gaining admission into Achimota SHS does not come easy, hence the attempt to deny these brilliant dreadlock students from being admitted after having been posted there by the Computer School Placement System is absolutely wrong.
Why were they not prevented from writing the BECE if the kind of hair which they have lived with all their lives was illegal in our education sector?
Just as it is unacceptable for a teacher to send a child home today for coming to school without footwear, or for wearing a torn school uniform, these students cannot be denied their right to education by applying the law in the manner in which the Achimota School authorities did.
Laws are made for man and not the reverse. Education is evolving and how education leaders apply the law must be looked at.
Let me cast your mind back to 2018 when one Felix Galley, an 18-year-old chief priest, was denied admission despite being placed in the Dzodze-Penyi Senior High School (SHS) to offer Visual Arts by the Computerized School Placement System.
The GES seemed not to have learned from that. What administrative changes and dynamics were introduced after that incident? Sadly, Achimota School is also applying the same law the same way.
Apply Education /School Laws and Doing It Right
It is important that in applying the laws, care is taken not to deny children their right to education, which is their fundamental right as humans.
In applying the law, personal judgment, dynamic thinking, and substance over form perspectives must guide us in their application
Headteachers sometimes need to in such difficult situations look at the substance of the matter instead of the strict application of laws to ensure they do not break one law in ensuring the adherence to another.
Would the same school reject a student who has sadly lost a leg and cannot wear a pair of sandals to school or shorts like any other student? Certainly not.
Changing Times and The Old-Fashioned Education Rules
Times have changed and the earlier the GES begins its transformational agenda of wiping away old and outdated rules it is still holding on to, the better.
Several decades have passed yet, the GES still holds on to the old laws such as not recognizing teachers’ academic upgrade if they went on study leave without pay, even if their academic pursuit did not in any way affect their work.
Refusing to employ teachers who attained education-related diplomas and degrees from the universities. Why even roll out such programmes when you do not need their services in the teaching field?
The challenge of teachers who for some reason left the service and want to return is another problem created by laws put in place and the rigidity with which they are applied, even if there are valid reasons.
GES and some of its administrative laws need an overhaul with regards to laws and sanctions that have outlived their time. If we see them as GES’s culture, then it is time we make these cultures dynamic, progressive, and relevant to modern times.
Those in leadership who were trained under such laws would want it to remain the way it is. Dr. Adutwumua must bring the needed dynamism into the education sector from all angles if he is to be remembered as Ghana’s saviour of education. It’s time to drop the “old-fashioned rules” hindering education, focus on forward-looking initiatives in the education sector in Ghana and the time is now!