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GES erred in directing Achimota School to accept Rastafarians – Former GES Director-General

The Chairman of the Ghana Education Service (GES) Council, Mr. Michael Nsowah, has opined that the Director-General of the GES, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, erred in directing the Achimota School to admit two first-year Rastafarian students it denied admission due to their dreadlocks.

The Ghana Education Service (GES) on Friday directed the headmistress of the Achimota School to admit two first-year students with dreadlocks who reported to the school to begin their senior high school (SHS) education.

The authorities of the school are said to have 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.

But, later in the evening, the GES said a directive had been issued to the school to admit the students.

“We have asked her [headmistress] to admit the students. The student is a Rastafarian and if there is evidence to show that he is Rastafarian, all that he needs to do is to tie the hair neatly,” the Director-General of the GES, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, told the Daily Graphic.

Reacting to a claim of a parent that the child had been denied admission because he was wearing dreadlocks, he said the school authorities could not say that they would not admit the children because of the dreadlocks.

“So, you cannot say that you will not admit someone on the basis of the person’s religious beliefs and so, we have asked the head to allow the children to be in the school,” the Director-General stated.

In an exclusive interview with Original 91.9FM’s Kwaku Owusu Adjei on Monday morning, Mr. Michael Nsowah said, the Ghana Education Service directive though legally, was not in the interest of the Rastafarians.

“It is the right or duty of the Director-General to say every child of school-going age should be admitted, but when you enroll in school all over the country, one must adhere to the rules governing it. That is why Achimota is different from Presec, Adisadel, and so on.”

The Chairman of the GES Council stated that each school has its tradition regardless of the laid down rules governing education in the country.

He explained that the school has a peculiar regulation in the running of the school, which distinguishes it from other second cycle institutions, and anyone who wants admission to the school must adhere to them.

“Everyone’s rights end where one’s rights begin. What makes the school unique includes their school uniform, so, if you insist they should continue, fine – everyone fears the law. If care is not taken psychologically several things will worry the children. Not that they will be under strict supervision. Not that you have the power so can do anything. So, if you have power and can do anything then we’ll leave you to go astray.”

He also alluded there should be a dialogue between the parents of the Rastafarians and the school authorities to find a solution to the problem.

“It is not in the interest of the children; the parents must sit down with management to deliberate on the dreadlocks and how best it could be kept for all to be okay. It is very simple,” the GES

In his view, “the school has something which attracted you to seek admission for your children. Now, you have been offered admission, so, why do you want to amend it?   It is not right. Yes, everybody has a right but we adults have a responsibility to make sure that the school grow-up to become useful and acceptable citizens.”

“The children have rights but the adults have responsibilities,” he asserted.


By: Bernard Ralph Adams | Originalfmonline.com | Ghana

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