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It is unconscionable to use students for farming activities – EduWatch chides Lwanga JHS Headteacher

•10 BECE candidates drowned when a boat they were returning in capsized

• The Headmaster at the heart of the incident has been charged with manslaughter

• He is expected to make an appearance in court tomorrow

Education Think-Tank, Africa Education Watch (EduWatch), has latched out at the Headteacher of St Charles Lwanga R/C Junior High School in the Saboba District of the Northern Region, Emmanuel Chinja, for using his pupils for farming activities on his farm.

The Headteacher was on Friday November 12, 2021 reported to have sent 30 JHS pupils to harvest rice on his farm.

However luck was not on the side of the students as the boat they were returning in capsized, leading to the death of 10 BECE candidates.

EduWatch in a statement condemning the act, stated that the conduct of the Headteacher was “unconscionable” considering the prevailing educational challenges in the northern part of the country.

“It is unconscionable that just one school day before the commencement of this year’s Basic education Certificate Examinations (BECE), a headteacher would mobilize 30 students, including BECE candidates from his school to work on his farm in a rural community where students already have limited time in class due to among others, the challenges in walking long distances to and from school. We condemn the use of students for any form of economic or domestic activity by teachers, especially where it affects their health or interferes with instructional and learning hours in and out of school,” parts of the statement read.

The statement also commended the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ghana Police Service (GPS) for the way it had handled the situation thus far.

EduWatch, however, wants GES to establish complaint phone lines to enable parents’ report incidents of teachers using their wards for farming and other domestic activities.

“We call for the setting up and publishing of complaint phone lines at all GES offices to enable parents report offending staff for punitive action. We urge the GES to provide the necessary psychological and other support to the affected parents and families,” the statement further stated.

The Headteacher, Emmanuel Chinja, has been charged with manslaughter and will be put before court on Monday, November 15, 2021, in Tamale.




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