The Ghana National Education Campaign Coalition, Tuesday urged the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service (GES) to enforce all school safety
policies and procedures to guarantee the well-being of students in a healthy learning environment.
They should also ensure that all safety issues were adequately covered in current school crisis plans and emergency response procedures, the GNECC said in a communique, signed by Joseph Atsu Homadzi, its national president, and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
The recommendations follow the drowning of some students of Charles Lwanga Junior High School in the the Oti River.
The students were reported to be returning from working on the rice farm of their headmaster, at Saboba in the Northern Region, .
The two boats on which the 31 students were travelling capsized leading to the death of nine of them.
The Headmaster, Mr Emmanuel Chinja, 43, has since been charged with manslaughter and and remanded by the court.
The GNECC expressed its condolence to the bereaved families and condemned the headmaster’s action.
“This is a clear violation of Part 3(7) in the rules of professional conduct for teachers in Ghana (Teachers’ Code of Conduct) i.e., Improper Use of Children’s labour,” it said.
“As a Coalition, which is passionately promoting equitable and quality inclusive education for all Ghanaian children, we are deeply sorrowed over this unfortunate and avoidable incident. We extend our deepest condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of the students who lost their lives under this unfortunate circumstance.”
It suggested that the Ministry and the GES put in place a friendly and anonymous reporting system in schools across the country that would create the enabling environment for students to report issues of violence to their well-being, while taking responsibility in maintaining safe school environments for themselves.
“GES should enhance school-community partnerships that would further promote communication systems between schools and communities (parents and traditional authorities) to promote safety measures for students beyond the school environment,” the GNECC said.
It pledged its readiness to complement the efforts of the Ministry and the GES by initiating
sensitisation activities for education workers and school authorities across our regional and district locations on safety
“We will also call on our comrades i.e. Teacher Unions and all relevant stakeholders within the value chain of education to put all hands-on deck to ensure a safe and an inclusive school environment for the Ghanaian child.”
The GNECC, however, commended the Education Ministry, the GES and the Ghana Police Service for their prompt response to the incident and expressed the hope that the justice systems would fast-track the processes to ensure justice for the bereaved families.