Bullying in schools relic of the past — Education Minister

BY: Vincent Amenuveve & Faith Ayorkor Mensah
Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum  —  Minister of Education
Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum — Minister of Education

The Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, has stressed that bullying in schools belongs to the past and has no place in modern times.

He strongly condemned the manner in which second- and third-year students in some senior high schools (SHSs) bullied fresh students, a practice known in local parlance as “homoing”.

Dr. Adutwum said such acts of indiscipline should not be tolerated in the 21st century; rather, the right environment, devoid of intimidation, should be created for students to perform well academically.

The Education Minister indicated that such acts had led to some students being maimed, citing the recent case at the Konongo Odumase SHS where an instance of alleged bullying led to the death of a student.

Dr. Adutwum expressed regret that bullying scenarios had been part of the school culture, adding, however, that the “time has come for us to end this because ‘homoing’ is a thing of the past".

Lecture

Speaking at a public lecture in Accra yesterday on ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education for socio-economic transformation’, the minister stressed that “we have to understand that we are each other's keeper and we should not be oppressors of our brothers and sisters”.

He urged students to desist from those acts by creating “a welcoming atmosphere for one another in school and not to become oppressors; the time has come for us to end this".

“That ‘homoing’ in schools is a relic of the past and it should not have space in this century; fresh students should be treated like brothers and sisters, and if you are in Form Two or Three, you should be their keeper," he charged students.

Dr. Adutwum recounted how he had the unfortunate duty of talking to the parents of the deceased student before the lecture, saying: “It is a very sad moment, indeed, and a strong disciplinary regime should prevail in our schools."

Condolences

He expressed condolences to the bereaved family and said the Education Ministry would liaise with the law enforcement agencies to allow justice to prevail.

Infrastructure

Touching on infrastructural development to enhance STEM for the socio-economic transformation of the country, Dr. Adutwum said the ministry was building 11 model STEM SHSs across the country.

Each of the schools would be equipped with 12 laboratories that would be one of the best in the world, he said.

Additionally, a STEM pathway would be established in a number of existing SHSs, fitted with additional four laboratories.

He announced further plans by the government to transform the country's socio-economic sector through STEM education.

The plans, Dr. Adutwum said, included building new STEM SHSs in 10 communities, constructing 20 regional STEM centres in existing SHSs and building 10 21st century schools.

E-Blocks, V-Blocks

The minister explained that the foundation on which STEM would be built included completing critical infrastructure and facilities, such as E-Blocks started by the previous administration, classroom blocks and a new initiative by the current government, known as the V-blocks.

He pointed out that “a robust introduction of STEM in this country will enable Ghana to achieve our objective of accelerating our socio-economic transformation, becoming a better contributor to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, facilitating the achievement of 60:40 science to humanities ratio, facilitating skilling of high schools, among others”.

“And the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be described as integrating the physical, digital and biological worlds. It’s a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing and other technologies.

“It integrates cutting-edge production techniques and smart systems with organisations and people through technologies to drive and accelerate human progress,” he said.

Additionally, Dr. Adutwum noted, through the introduction of STEM, Ghana would increase its gross tertiary enrolment ratio (GTER) from the current 18.84 to 40 per cent by 2030.

He was optimistic that that would enable the country to create the critical mass of educated Ghanaians with appropriate skills for socio-economic transformation.