Extremely reprehensible and appalling — this is the verdict widely passed on the violent activities by some school candidates in the ongoing West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Leading the condemnation are the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), with the GES hinting of some tough actions against the perpetrators of the acts.
The two state institutions said the violent acts, laced with flippant remarks by the students, were a complete antithesis of who they needed to be.
In viral videos, some of the students were seen destroying school properties while others rained insults on school authorities for making the examination difficult for them.
For instance, some students of Tweneboa Kodua Senior High School (SHS) at Kumawu and Juaben SHS, both in the Ashanti Region, went on the rampage against school authorities for being “too strict” on them on the first day of the examination.
The latest to join the list of rioters are the students of the Ndewura Jakpa Senior High Technical School at Damongo in the West Gonja Municipality in the Savannah Region and Bright Senior High School at Kukurantumi in the Eastern Region.
The Ndewura Jakpa students last Wednesday night staged a demonstration on the school premises to register their displeasure against a social distancing seating arrangement in the examination hall.
For their part, the students of Bright SHS attacked staff of WAEC who were at the centre to ensure that the examination was conducted devoid of malpractice while a reporter of the Daily Graphic also suffered attacks.
Following the acts of misconduct, WAEC declared that examination centre as unsafe for the smooth conduct of the WASSCE and moved the candidates to a safer centre nearby.
GES talks tough
Yesterday, the management of the GES said any students found to have misconducted themselves in any of the undisciplined acts shall be deboardenised and be allowed to commute from home to write the examination papers under parental control.
It further directed that any destruction of school property will be surcharged against the culprit established to be involved.
A statement signed by the Director-General of the GES added that instances where criminal acts had been committed should be reported to the police for investigations.
The statement charged directors “to take action on all such misconduct and submit reports to the Director-General immediately.”
It described as appalling, the scenes in videos making the rounds, showing some students who were not only demonstrating gross indiscipline, but also passing unfortunate comments about high-profile personalities including the President.
“Management of GES has also received reports of instances of some staff involved in unprofessional conduct,” the statement said, stressing that the management would want to make it clear that school rules and regulations, in particular those involving the conduct of examinations, remained intact and would be applied where necessary.
The statement cautioned the general public, especially, parents, that in its efforts to maintain discipline in the schools, “pleas for mitigation will not be tolerated.
The GES, therefore, encouraged all parents to advise their children to maintain a high sense of discipline and comportment.
On school authorities, the statement gave an assurance that the GES management would stand with them in ensuring strict maintenance of discipline at all times.
Consequently, it urged the school authorities to equally ensure that the rules governing the examination were not flouted in any form.
“Management of GES further wishes to assure all law-abiding students to go about their normal studies and activities and know that the authorities will support them to go through the examinations successfully,” the statement added.
The statement said Ghana needed educated and disciplined citizens in its forward march to development and that, “no student is above the law and that whatever it takes to maintain discipline in the schools will be done, including possible withdrawal of students from the schools and the examination centres.”
NCCE demands action
The Chairperson of the NCCE, Ms Josephine Nkrumah, described the conduct of the students as “distasteful, disrespectful and dangerous for the future of the country.”
The Chairperson of the NCCE, Ms Josephine Nkrumah
Speaking to the Daily Graphic yesterday (August 6), she called for urgent action by all stakeholders to deal with the root cause of such reckless behaviours.
Shocked by the videos that went viral on social media showing how some candidates had gone on the rampage in some schools shortly after writing the Integrated Science paper last Monday, she said the acts were condemnable.
Ms Nkrumah called for urgent steps to be taken to identify those behind the act so that they could be cautioned.
“Once their faces can be seen in the videos, we need to identify them, so that if for nothing at all, they can be cautioned and made to understand the repercussions of their actions,” she stressed.
Ms Nkrumah said the reckless behaviour exhibited by the students was a reflection of the moral decadence among the youth and loss of the value of hard work.
“Exhibiting such recklessness to the extent that they believe that it is okay to disrespect the highest office of the land is uncalled for. Our Constitution gives us the freedom to express ourselves but that does not mean that we should show disrespect towards authority,” she said.
The NCCE chairperson stressed that the country’s cultural values frowned on people showing disrespect to authority so it was important for steps to be taken to build moral values in the younger generation.
Touching further on the issue, she said the action of the students was a wake-up call for parents, teachers, education authorities and other stakeholders to act together to do away with examination malpractices from the education system.
Ms Nkrumah said corruption in the education sector emboldened students to feel that it was their right to engage in examination practices.
“When they cheat, buy certificates and eventually get to the top, they cannot do their work well and the repercussions are dire because the ripple effect goes to show that as a country we are going to suffer because of the incompetence of our human capital,” she said.
She further said the time had come for parents and other stakeholders in the education sector to monitor the activities of the younger generation on social media to check the abuse of those platforms.
Source: General News