Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament for North Tongu, has called on Parliament to initiate reforms on laws that govern rules and regulations in schools.
According to him, it needs to be reformed to be in consonance with provisions in Ghana’s laws to conform to acceptable rules in schools.
He further revealed that, structured school rules will promote national cohesion, inclusion and diversity. This, he insisted, will help avert the creation of an apartheid-like regime in schools in the country.
Mr. Ablakwa was addressing the house over recent debate on whether two Rastafarian students should be allowed admission into Achimota College.
“The current debate should afford us the opportunity to carry out sweeping reforms. When one observes the Ghanaian education landscape, there is clearly a kaleidoscope of varying rules from private to public schools.
“Like many, I am yet to come across any convincing research that pupils in more liberal private school environments grow up to be less useful to society- when compared with their counterparts in so-called stricter public-school environments.
“In many other jurisdictions, far reaching reforms have taken place about school rules so as to build a fairer, just and equitable society. Let us not through school rules to introduce an apartheid regime albeit via the backdoor”.
Okudzeto condemns NAGRAT
The North Tongu legislator also condemned pronouncements made by the NAGRA. The President of NAGRAT, Angel Carbonu, stated that Rastafarians should build their own schools.
Being “a non-Presbyterian” who schooled in PRESEC, he stated that the statement was offensive.
“We need to rethink our concept of discipline in our schools. Getting pupils and students to appreciate diversity and the beauty of different backgrounds; beliefs and creeds does not undermine discipline by any stretch of the imagination.
“Tolerance and accepting unique identities at that age cannot be inimical to any educational system. It is rather an awesome positive quality to imbibe in our children. In any case, don’t our children see the people we are refusing to admit all around them in real life and in their reading materials?”
Bigotry textbooks threaten discipline
Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa further entreated school authorities to readmit the Rastafarian students. He insisted that this will be in the interest of their supreme welfare as the Children’s Act, Act 560 demands.
According to him, the actual threat to discipline “edification and progress” are not Rastafarians.
“The real threat to discipline, edification and progress in our schools are not Rastafarians. The real threats are bigoted incendiary textbooks, outmoded curriculum, poor teacher motivation, lack of investments in quality and access, poor attempts at embracing blended learning, STEM and AI, and an erratic double track system.”
He further stated that he is opposed to school rules that are discriminatory and backward.
“I believe the time has come for this House and the Ministry of Education to set minimum standards and clear parameters; consistent with our laws on what constitutes acceptable rules in our schools”.