Editorial:  KNUST SHS brouhaha: Interdiction is good, but the truth must be told

The Ghana Education Service (GES) has interdicted the Headmistress of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Senior High School, Felicia Asamoah Dankwa, following the death of a student on campus on Tuesday, this week, and the subsequent violent demonstration embarked upon by the students.

The Director-General of Ghana Education Service (GES) has directed the Head of KNUST SHS, Felicia Asamoah Dankwa, to step aside for the Regional Director of Education, Ashanti, to take over the administration of the school, while management of the Service investigates the circumstances leading to the demise of a final year student on Tuesday 7th July 2020, the GES indicated in a statement issued yesterday.

According to a story we have carried at the centre pages of today’s publication, videos shot by the students show the deceased groaning in pain and being supported by some of his colleagues.  According to report, the student died later at a health facility, after the school authorities failed to come to his aid, because of the suspicion that he was a Coronavirus (Covid-19) patient. News of the death of the Business student drove his colleagues mad, and who started pelting stones, which broke the windscreen of a saloon car the Headmistress had reportedly driven to the school.

“Then we rushed him to the classroom blocks, but it seems the teachers were only waiting for his parents to come so that they could take him to the hospital, and for that matter, he was there for close to three hours before his dad came to pick him up,” one of students told The Chronicle.

If the accounts given by the students -that the boy was not attended to because of the fear that he was a Covid-19 patient- is really true, then it is really a pathetic story, and The Chronicle is happy that the GES has taken the wise decision of interdicting the Headmistress for a proper investigation to be conducted into the case. If the student was a biological son of any of the school management members, The Chronicle does not think they would sit idle because the student had Covid-19, no, they wouldn’t have done that.

The government has laid down the process for handling Covid-19 patients, which includes the calling of health officials on phone to come and take charge of suspected cases. Since this protocol has received wide publication, we know the school authorities are aware of it. They could have, therefore, placed a simple telephone call to the Covid-19 centre, calling for help, they would have responded positively.

Unfortunately, per the accounts of the students, this never happened. The school authorities rather waited till the evening before the father of the student came for his ward and sent him to hospital, but it was too late to save the life of the boy. The suggestion by the school authorities that the boy was an ulcer patient, and did not probably eat at the right time, resulting in the complications, has even exacerbated the situation, if what is being attributed to them is really true.

A student suffering from stomach ulcer shouldn’t pose a danger to his colleagues and teachers, so to let him die such a painful death is complete callousness towards a fellow human being. Granted that the teachers could not do anything about the situation, the National Ambulance Service is also available, and the school authorities could have fallen on it to convey the poor boy to the nearby University Hospital, but none of these happened, and the boy was left to die.

It is the hope of The Chronicle that the GES will probe and get to the bottom of the matter and severely punish those who would be found culpable. This will serve as a deterrent to other school authorities to take proper care of students who have been entrusted into their care.

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