The Chronicle carried a banner story titled; “Headmaster Cuts Short Girl’s Education” on Tuesday, 12 June, 2018, in which the Nkoranza South police had arrested the Headmaster of Nkoranza M/A Junior High School, Mr. Osei Kwame, and his Assistant, Madam Esther Timbila, for preventing a female candidate from writing the just-ended Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) English paper.
The action of the Headmasters falls flat in the face of Section 8 of the Children’s Act 560 of 1998, which states that “no person shall deprive a child of access to education, immunisation, adequate diet, clothing, shelter, medical attention or any other thing required for his or her development.”
Rightly so, the story attracted a lot of condemnation from various quarters the moment the paper hit the newsstands across the country, and we, at The Chronicle, are equally astonished at the conduct of the two educationists.
We cannot fathom why some headmasters are refusing to buy into policies of the government to enhance quality education for our youth, especially, the girl child.
We say so, because the Ministry of Education, through the Ghana Education Service (GES), has made it clear to heads of schools that under no condition should a student be made to suffer over his/her parent’s inability to pay Parents Teachers Association (PTA) dues.
The argument by the Ministry is reasonable, because the said dues is decided by the parents and teachers of the school, and it is the parents who are obliged to pay and sanctioned, if any, for refusing or failing to pay.
The Chronicle is deeply disturbed by the development, because the inability of the candidate to write the English paper puts her education in the balance, since the subject is a requirement for Senior High School entry.
We are wondering what might have motivated the two school heads to punish the candidate in such a manner, knowing very well that the said fees are illegal.
From the foregoing, The Chronicle would like to emphasise that stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education, Ghana Education Service, Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, and child rights activists, must ensure that the heads are severely sanctioned to deter others from similar actions that could truncate the education of our young ones.
Further, we are glad that that the Nkoranza South Education Directorate and the Police Command have taken the matter seriously, but we plead that they continue to hold high the flag of honesty till justice is achieved. We are saying this, because we are an in an era where the vulnerable is always made the loser.
Surprisingly, The Chronicle has not heard any reaction from the District Chief Executive for the area, Madam Diana Attaa Kusiwaa, and that is a cause for worry, since, as a symbol of women empowerment in the district, we expected her to lead the crusade to ensure justice for the young female student.
That said, we believe that it is better late than never, and so Madam Kusiwaa could still put pressure on the system to achieve the expected outcome in this matter.
The young student who was denied the opportunity to write her English paper must be given the rare opportunity to enjoy the Free SHS policy.
That is a card we cannot throw away!