The Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, says the Ghana Education Service (GES) has not rescinded its directive to Achimota School regarding admitting two Rastafarian students.
The Education Minister indicated that once the controversies are addressed, the Director-Director of GES will issue fresh guidelines to all heads of Senior High Schools with regards to the handling of issues of such nature.
“I don’t think GES rescinded anything. But what I will tell you is that the Chief Director of the Education Ministry together with the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service, the parents, and the headmistress has been in meetings. They’ve been meeting. Thursday, there was a long meeting here. We will find a solution to the crisis and thereafter GES will issue a directive to all headmasters and headmistresses as to what to do in such a situation,” he said.
The 1992 constitution of Ghana provided for religious freedom in which it reads as follows…
After a turbulent earlier history, the Republic of Ghana is now settling down as a thriving
representative democracy. It has a Bill of Rights entrenched in its current 1992 Republican Constitution. The provisions in it are entrenched in the sense that they cannot be amended except through a special procedure including a national referendum. The Bill of Rights contains a provision on freedom of religion. Freedom of religion is thus a fundamental human right in the Ghanaian legal regime.
The specific provision on freedom of religion is Article 21(1((c) of the 1992 Constitution which states that: All persons shall have the right to freedom to practise any religion and to manifest such practice;”
This entrenched provision in the Constitution has been part of the various Constitutions of Ghana since 1969. It is thus a settled fundamental human right which has in the main been respected by successive government
The two Rastafarian students were refused admission to the Achimota School over their failure to trim their dreadlocks.
Since news broke out on this issue, many people from all sectors of Ghanaian society have expressed varied opinions in support of and or against the school authorities.
The school authorities justified the move with claims that it is against the rules of the school to admit students with dreadlocks, thus if the students must be admitted, they must conform to the rules of the institution.
Some critics have questioned the motive behind such a rule, arguing that the student at a younger age, whilst still wearing the same dreadlocks in the previous school, managed to pass the B.E.C.E in order to qualify for admission and therefore did not see how the dreadlocks could now hinder studies at a more matured level.
GES waded into the controversy and issued a directive for the embattled students to be admitted but the headmistress refused to kowtow; insisting they must trim their dreadlocks.
But speaking to Daniel Dadzie on “On The Record‘ which will be aired at 8pm Monday, March 29, 2021, on Joy Prime channel, the Member of Parliament for Bosomtwe Constituency intimated that Achimota remains a beacon in terms of educational excellence and cannot to be defined by a story of exclusion.
The Education Minister vowed to ensure that the school maintains its brand as a citadel of academic excellence.
The right to education is guaranteed in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution which states in Article 38(2) that “The Government shall within two years after Parliament first meets after coming into force of this Constitution draw up a programme for the implementation within the following 10 years for the provision of a Free, Compulsory Universal Basic Education.”
Additionally, the Education Act, 2008 (Act 778) and the Children’s Act, 1998 (Act 560) also guarantee the right to education in Ghana. Act 560 consolidates the law relating to children by providing for the rights of the child, maintenance and adoption, and by regulating child labour, apprenticeship, and related matters.
“I do not believe that Achimota’s history is going to be defined by a story of exclusion. Achimota is a great institution and we will do everything to ensure that it maintains its brand as a great institution of repute” the Education Minister said.
The honorable minister, however, urged Ghanaians to calm down as various stakeholders find a long-lasting solution to the issue.