[Opinion] SHS Students Unrest, a Second Look at GES Punishment Eminent
The GES should review the ‘immoral harsh punishment’ meted on the 14 students.They should also take some responsibility for their inability to ensure discipline in the schools. What they could have done was to invite the students and their parents to face the disciplinary committee ( if that thing still exist) ask them to sign a bond of good behaviour in the presence of a law enforcer. Then make them apologize in public ( get that broadcast on national TV), ask them to report to school with their parents only on examination days.
After exam, a police or national security personnel will escort them out of the school premises. Then ask them pay for the cost of properties they have destroyed just like the other students. In the schools where no damage was caused, repeat the same process for the students. In addition, ask them to sign a bond together with their parents to do some form of community service for some few weeks by reporting at a police station in their community right after they complete their WASSCE.
If they don’t report themselves after the exam, their parents could face the law or they can also be sent to juvenile detention centre. Inasmuch as we have condemned the students for their misconduct, let’s not also take away the fact that, these are minors and the decision taken to dismiss them outright and barring them from taking the national exams is very harsh and it will do more harm than good. I think the decision to sack them is very retrogressive. The GES should have at least consulted the teacher unions, the school management committee and the school board.
What the students did was terrible and every Ghanaian have condemned that, but sacking them wouldn’t solve the root cause of the gross indiscipline in the schools. We all have a role to play in bringing back discipline in our schools.
Who allowed them to take phones to school when we all know that according to the same GES phones are not permitted? Who lowered punitive measures in schools? I thought the GES said the rights of children should be protected in the schools and schools should provide proper safeguarding measures for students! The best way to approach this situation is to not use the culprits as ‘scapegoats’ especially now that they have invested 3 years in school. If they were not candidates, that’s a different case- but they’re all candidates in the middle of completing their exam. If some of them have been caught cheating in exam, apply WAEC rule regarding exam malpractice-cancellation of that paper.
The best they could do is to limit their movements in the school premises to bring sanity( since they are classified as bad nuts). We should equally blame the GES for their incompetence and irresponsible role. We as citizens should ask policymakers to take some of the blame for allowing education to be used as a political machinery.
You can’t sack them and pretend that all is well. We should also be mindful of the mental health of the affected students- I don’t even think the president( a legal practitioner) will be happy seeing that 14 of his graduates have been sacked.
Source: Dennis Emmanuel Dorbu Amedzeame
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