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Tax-payer funded schools ought to respect the religious freedoms of all its students – Sakyi-Addo

The Chairman of the board of the National communications Authority, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, says any tax-payer-funded schools ought to respect the religious freedoms of all its students.

Management of the Wesley Girls’ High School in Cape Coast prevented Muslim students from fasting during the ongoing Ramadan period after they developed several health conditions.

The school also banned all other religious bodies from fasting while on the school campus stating it is imperative to ensure that the health of students was not compromised vis-à-vis their organised school schedules

But in a statement signed by the head of the Public Relations Unit of GES, Madam Cassandra Twum Ampofo said, “The Ghana Education Service, therefore, directs Wesley Girls’ High School as well as any other school to allow any such student who wishes to fast for any religious reason to do so”.

Sharing his views on the impasse in an article titled ‘Fasting at Katanga’, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo said “Any school that is tax-payer funded ought to respect the religious freedoms of all its students. Despite its Methodist origins, the primary source of funding for Wesley Girls High School (WGHS) is not the church; it’s Everyone’s Taxes.”

He argued that “When classrooms and dormitories are overcrowded and funds for feeding students are not forthcoming, it is not the Methodist Church that receives the tongue-lashing. It is the Ghana Education Service and Governments that do.”

The seasoned journalist stressed that “we should not ignore or disrespect legitimate rights of adherents of a religion which is recognized by the Republic of Ghana to the extent that the State celebrates Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, as a National Public Holiday.”

“Will Wesley Girls High School not observe the holiday when it falls on the 12th or 13th of May?” he questioned adding  “Even our public school curriculum incorporates and teaches our children about Islam and its tenets. Islam in Ghana is not a secret cult operating in some dim, inaccessible, blood-soiled netherworld.”

In his view, “Some argue that Muslim students should go to Muslim schools. But I wonder if that’s a feasible approach because the State hasn’t invested equitably between “Muslim” public schools and “Christian” ones, and they cannot all fit into the few that exist, such as TI Ahmadiyya in Kumasi.”

“Muslims have a right to basic education and to access it at any Public school anywhere in the country like everyone else, and their just religious rights which are recognized and upheld by the State must be respected by Public School authorities. In any event, it’s better for our country’s long-term social stability for our children to grow up in integrated, multi-religious public institutions than under a system of Apartness,” he opined.

By: Bernard Ralph Adams | originalfmonline.com | Ghana

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