The school system in Ghana, to me, is flawed in many ways. So much that many teachers find themselves in weird situations which make no sense and it leaves me wondering. The code of conduct of the Ghana Education Service (GES) is, to me, not clear and does not cover many areas which wake to bite eventually. We talk of the use of mobile phones and GES does not permit its usage but children have smart phones they use crude methods in charging and it is now something no teacher can have control over.
The issue of girls barbering their hair in senior high schools, to me, does not make sense. I know there are reasons like; they needing to study, making them disrespectful, making them attract men etc. I know that many girls in private senior high schools with plaited hair are doing fine. Why must they be made to be conscious of their hair to a point of creating chaos?
As a teacher, I marvel at the trouble surrounding the hair of female students. A girl who plaited her hair and covered it with a scarf saw the senior housemistress and decided to faint for fear of being penalized. So she feigned collapse, was sent to the hospital and later told her friends she did that for fear of being punished. All that drama is not worth it.
I could say students should be “deponked” as some say but that option is not advisable in some schools. Here in northern Ghana, there is a spiritual sickness called “genes”. When they get attacked by these spirits, they go as far as threatening to kill others, harming themselves, physically assaulting others, running around like the mentally challenged etc. This spiritual sickness is known to be sparked by the touch of their hair by others. They believe these spirits must be appeased; some rituals need to be performed before one touches their hair so imagine what will happen if you touch their hair? And don’t say it is preposterous, even very respectable men pay attention to the girls “possessed by genes”.
I think it is time the Ghana Education Service allow girls to plait their hair instead of making them cut. It does not make sense that the hair of students cause so much attention and makes a national headlines.
With the case of a teacher barring students from writing their final exams because of their bushy hair, we have to think about it in many ways. Many are those who will jump into conclusion and condemn the teacher but there is more to this than meets the eye. I must say that some teachers are paranoid, they are humans and are fallible, some are simply too passionate and become emotional thinking in immaturity that their goal is to discipline so go overboard. These teachers need time to learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. The children who were quick to run to the media house just wanted to breed trouble. They could have reported to the administration, and there is the evidence that the teacher involved wanted to just scare them, those who remained were allowed to write their examination. That brings us to the question, is the media fuelling disrespect among children?
I think we have come far, too far that children now see themselves as adults with rights, well rights they have and rights they don’t have. The earlier we think of ways of eliminating issues which can grow to bite, the better for us. I call on GES to revise its code of conduct and clearly state what to do and what not to do to prevent teachers from making fools out of themselves. The elders say “advise the cat but advise the stinking meat too” I wish teachers will know that teaching is patience, we need patience in order to take care of our own children, so of course we need more patience to handle children of others. Whatever we do, we must think of the issue broadly before acting. Anyone who succeeds in life needs to thank one teacher or the other but teachers who victimize eventually become the villains.
Amoafowaa Sefa Cecilia © 2015