Public Relations Officer for the Ghana Education Service (GES), Cassandra Twum Ampofo, has revealed that the Service is almost done with the comprehensive code of conduct for all schools to address issues such as bullying.
According to her, although there are codes of conduct in various schools across the country, it is only right for the GES to come out with a more standardize guideline to govern all schools in the country.
Reacting to a viral video of a student in Adisadel College being bullied by another student who is seen hitting his face against a metal bed, resulting in profuse bleeding below the victim’s right eye, Ms Ampofo described the situation as unfortunate and worrying.
“We are almost done with the comprehensive code of conduct for all schools. We have the school code of conducts, but it’s individual based. So, you realize that the sanction for this particular offense in school A might be different from school B. So, we sat down and said we should have one general code of conduct that will be used in all our schools. We are almost done, I know that on Thursday, my director general will lay before council and will seek council’s validation and final approval and then the schools will use it so that individuals will not be using their own.”Cassandra Twum Ampofo
Ms Ampofo revealed that for first-year students, the first thing administered to them during their orientation is the school’s code of conduct. She explained that during orientation, the do’s and don’ts as well as the expectations of the school are clearly espoused to avert incidents such as bullying and any form of violence.
“Occasionally, in the schools, the guidance and counselling coordinators remind them of the school’s code of conducts. When it comes to bullying, yes, we know it is there, and we keep reminding them that do not do it… Regardless, the individual schools’ code of conduct is against violence and bullying. In the code of conduct, depending on the magnitude, you are suspended, given internal works to do, you are de-boardinized. In extreme cases, you can even be dismissed…”Cassandra Twum Ampofo
Reporting channels for bullied students
Furthermore, Ms Ampofo indicated that for students who are bullied, there are reporting channels which starts from the prefects, house masters and mistresses, guidance and counselling coordinators. However, she explained that there are instances where students feel restrained in reporting issues of bullying.
“Again, we acknowledge that sometimes the students as they are, some might also fear, so they tend to keep to themselves. But we keep encouraging them to come out and let us know. So, for bullying, every now and then, the heads do drum home that it is not accepted in the school.”Cassandra Twum Ampofo
On his part, Executive director of the Institute for Education Studies (IFEST), Dr Peter Anti, revealed that bullying has built up into the school culture. As such, he noted that some teachers feel that it is one of the things or the orientations that students need to go through when they enter the campus. However, he stated that when it turns to be violent, then it becomes problematic.
“As I indicated earlier on, some of these practices are non-violent… In most instances, the school authorities focus so much on violent bullying than the non-violent ones. Until some of these violent ones come up, it becomes difficult for the school authorities to even identify. Again, these are reasons why we have authorities at different levels on campus- we have the dorm prefect, house prefect and house master, senior house master and it is believed that any activities that happen in the dormitory should be reported to the house prefect and forwarded to the senior house master.”Dr Peter Anti
Dr Anti highlighted that in situations where instances of bullying are not reported to headmasters in a timely manner, it will be very difficult for the headmaster, who sits at the top, to really know what is happening in each dormitory on campus.
“Their inability to stop this stems from the fact that those who are involved are also those who sometimes are supposed to report these activities to the relevant authorities.”Dr Peter Anti