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8 Chiana students to report for direction

BY: Emmanuel Bonney & Mohammed Fugu
8 Chiana students to report for direction
8 Chiana students to report for direction

The eight students of the Chiana Senior High School (SHS) who were dismissed for insulting the President have been asked by the Ghana Education Service (GES) to report to the headmistress of the school for further directions.

This is as a result of the reversal of their dismissal, following the intervention by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The GES has thus referred the “matter of the eight girls to the school’s internal disciplinary committee to explore alternative sanctions other than dismissal”.

It said the affected students were dismissed based on a recommendation from the school’s Disciplinary Committee.

Dismissal

Last Thursday, the female students were dismissed by the GES for insulting President Akufo-Addo in a video they recorded and shared on social media.

They were suspended last year prior to the dismissal, which the GES said was to serve as a deterrent to other students.

They were seen in a widely circulated video using vulgar and unprintable words on the President.

The video was in reaction to the President's national address on the economy on November 30, 2022, the address which was afterwards popularly referred to as ‘l’argent n’aime pas le bruit’, to wit, ‘money does not like noise or sika mpɛ dede’.

The GES also apologised to the President and the public on behalf of the students and the school.

Sanctions

The GES subsequently referred the matter to the school’s disciplinary committee to explore alternative sanctions

After the dismissal letters were handed over to them, the students were seen in another video apologising for their comments.

However, following their dismissal, the President intervened when his attention was drawn to it.

A statement from the Ministry of Education said the sector Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, had directed the GES to revise its decision.

The dismissal of the students last week elicited mixed reactions from the public. While some thought it would serve as a deterrent to others, some individuals and bodies thought it would jeopardise their future.

Social, emotional learning

Meanwhile, the Northern Network for Educational Development (NNED), a network of education-focused civil society organisations, has called for the introduction of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools.

That, it said, would help students better understand their thoughts and emotions to become more self-aware, develop more empathy for others within their environment and make responsible decisions.

The network was of the view that the classroom was where students were often first exposed to people from different backgrounds who held differing beliefs and views, hence such an intervention would help put all students on an equal footing to succeed.

The call comes in the wake of the action and subsequent dismissal of the eight students of the Chiana SHS which stirred controversy, resulting in an intervention by President Akufo-Addo just a day afterwards for their reinstatement.

Commendation/weak supervision

A lead member of the Northern, North East and Savannah Regional Chapter of the NNED and Executive Director of Savanna Signatures, Stephen Agbenyo, said with the dynamics of democracy and the rights of everyone, it was important to also educate particularly students on their responsibilities.

While condemning the language of the students in the viral video and reminding all that the freedom of speech guaranteed under the Constitution was not absolute, the NNED lead member blamed the authorities of the Chiana SHS for the gross indiscipline exhibited by the students.

"In our view, the act by the students exposes the weak supervision in our second-cycle educational institutions by school authorities, especially on the part of teachers and management committees who have direct oversight responsibility of the schools," he said.

He further maintained that if the authorities of the school had been diligent and up to the task, those students would not have had the chance to use unauthorised gadgets (mobile phones) in the school to record themselves and share same on social media.

He lauded the President for showing leadership and a good heart in intervening and helping to save the future of the girls.