For the Executive Director of Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, the controversy around Achimota Senior Hight School denying two students with dreadlocks admission is an opportunity for the Ghana Education Service to standardise codes of conduct for all schools.
Speaking on The Big Issue, Mr. Asare said the lack of consistency from the GES in the matter showed it was not aware of the codes of conduct of schools under it.
Though the GES initially directed Achimota School to admit the students, it backtracked after pushback from the school’s stakeholders and further engagements.
The school’s PTA, for example, stated that the school’s revised rules and regulations from August 2020 indicate that students must keep their hair low, simple and natural.
The school had asked the parents to cut off their ward’s hair or find another school for them.
But Mr. Asare does not think the GES was aware of these changes to internal regulations despite its oversight of the sector.
“For the GES Director-General to have advised against this decision which Achimota claims was based on their new rules of conduct meant that the GES Director-General is likely or most likely to have been even aware of the revised code of conduct of Achimota.”
“If you have a regime where every school and their old students and PTA will go and meet somewhere and develop their own code of conduct and revise same anytime it suits them, how can this coordinator of secondary schools [GES] be able to ensure that there is adequate coordination of the management and regulation of these schools.”
Mr. Asare thus said this controversy is “a wakeup call for the GES to consider using a participatory approach to develop a standardised code of conduct for all its senior high schools with minimal exemptions if necessary.”
He expects that the standardisation will make it “much easier to coordinate the implementation of the various rules of conduct in their schools.”
The families of the two students plan to challenge the decision of Achimota School in court.
They maintain that Achimota School is violating the rights of their wards.