The Vice-President of the Old Students Association of Achimota School, Joel Nettey has called on the Rastafari Council of Ghana to engage relevant stakeholders in the education sector on how their beliefs can be incorporated into the educational system.
His comments come after the authorities of Achimota School denied admission to the two students who were posted there under the Computer School Placement System (CSSPS) because the rules of the school did not allow students with dreadlocks to be admitted.
This subsequently generated a massive debate on social media with many claiming that the students have been denied their rights.
But, speaking to Benjamin Akakpo on Joy News’ AM Show Tuesday, Mr. Nettey noted that as it stands, most second cycle schools require that their students have a down cut hair before they report to the school premises.
As such, advocacy by the Rastafari Council and a holistic debate on the issue will help Rastafarian students to grow their hair when they gain admission to schools in the country.
“My issue is the way this has been handled. If it is that the Rastafari Council for instance starts advocacy; trying to explain to world what it is their issues are and why this or that is practiced, we can have a more holistic conversation about it [dreadlocks in schools].
“They can engage GES [Ghana Education Service], and various Teacher Unions that ‘look you need to modify this’, and the matter will be discussed. But when you wait, and choose a school that has rules, and on the day that you are being admitted suddenly say, ‘I want to go to this school but I am not ready to follow its rules’, this is what you get,” he told host Benjamin Akakpo.
“So if as the Council wants to make an advocacy to GES, to schools in Ghana and the Ghanaian populace, it is a good thing to do. It will help us weigh the pros and cons, see the merits and demerits and let’s make the appropriate adjustments.”
Moreover, the Association’s Vice President dispelled allegations that authorities denied the two first-year students admission to the school.
According to him, the students were asked to students were only asked to conform to the rules and regulations, that is, to keep a short hair, before they were allowed to the premises of the school.
“What we need to be careful about is saying that ‘Achimota School is not accepting Rastafarians’, because that is not the issue. Achimota School has an issue with how students [male or female] keep their hair,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Rastafari Council is seeking other alternatives to get admission to another institution for the students.