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 Post subject: Adisadel College and GES in tango
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 
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Cape Coast, Monday, 5, May - The authorities of Adisadel College in cape coast and the directorate of the Ghana education service seem to have locked horns over the writing of the final examination by some dismissed students of the school. While the school is insisting that the students cannot write their papers because they have been dismissed, the Ghana education service is imposing a directive on them to allow the boys to write the exams. In commentary today our central regional correspondent Philip Baidoo takes a look at the situation vis-à-vis school discipline and what this situation portends for the future.

One of the cardinal values any society can instill in its people, particularly, the youth, is discipline. And one of the social institutions that has been charged to instill that discipline is the educational institutions. Many sociologists and Philosophers have stressed the cardinal role educational institutions play in passing on positive societal values from one generation to the other.

They believe that when that chain is broken and the educational institutions are unable to discharge that role the affected society suffers disciplinary problems and moral decadence. In Ghana, it is with nostalgic feelings that people speak of the discipline that they received from their Alma matters such as the Achimotas, Mfantsepims, Prempehs, Wesley Colleges and the Adisadels. But with time the spate of discipline in the society and particularly the school system took a nose dive thereby creating a lot of concern to the elderly in society.

Many Calls have gone to the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service to take measures to reinforce discipline within the schools. It is in the light of this that what is gong on at the Adisadel College should be of concern to all.
There is the need for a dispassionate discussion of the Adisadel situation so as to determine whether the school can be forced by an external force to act against its own internal discipline mechanisms.

It must also be determined whether the authorities of the College can deny the students the opportunity to complete their secondary education even after they have been registered by the West Africa Examination Council on the basis that they have been dismissed by the school that registered them. The big question to me is, to what extent can the Ghana Education Service interfere in the internal affairs of the various schools? In the present Adisadel case the school authorities say, the ten students that are at the centre of controversy were caught stealing. They were arraigned before the schools Disciplinary Committee which found them guilty of the offence.

A sub committee of the School Board responsible for discipline also sat on the matter and upheld the decision of the Committee and upon those elaborate considerations of the student’s offence, they were then dismissed. The school is therefore at a loss why the Directorate of the Ghana Education Service would want to impose its will on the school and insist that the students write the exams contrary to the stand of the school.

The teachers insist that since the students have been dismissed they are no longer students of the school and cannot write the papers as candidates of the school. It is on this basis that they have refused to supervise them. In the words of the Central Regional Director of the Ghana Education Service, Rosemond Blay, when she met the teaching staff, she said she has been directed to ensue that the students write the papers. One would want to know why by hook or crook the students should be made to write the papers. Or is credence being laid to the fact that some powers above the GES is pushing an agenda for personal reasons. Whatever the case might be, the Adisadel authorities are convinced that they have been stabbed in the back.

This situation they believe can only lead to the breakdown of discipline in the school as they have been weakened morally to punish any other deviant student in the school. One would want to know if the GES is aware of any legal implication of the action the Adisadel authorities have taken against the students and if any why are they not laying it bare to them? After all the GES has a supervisory role over the schools. Now what is the fate of the students? Even though they are writing the papers, the school authorities say their names have already been sent to WAEC that they have been dismissed.

It is therefore not clear whether their papers would be marked and added to that of Adisadel College that has disowned them. Or are they going to be considered private candidates by WAEC? Whatever the results is, the Adesadel College staff think the GES is not dealing with them according to known rules. They feel that they have been demobilized morally to discipline students in the school. The schools disciplinary committee and the Board of Directors that recommended and endorsed the dismissal of the students have been undermined by the GES directive or veto to allow the dismissed students to write the exams. As the saying goes, when the Leopard looses its hunting powers, rodents play around it.

The teeth of Adisadel seem to have been uprooted and the students can afford to play in its month. Already, the students are said to be roaming in town at night because the masters feel unmotivated to check them. For the educational institutions to play their role in instilling discipline in the youth they must be seen to be operating independently without any external influence. They can do their work when parents and higher authorities give the schools a free hand to do their work, of course within acceptable limits.

Whoever is pushing the Adisadel College Authorities to act against their own disciplinary measures should realize that school discipline could be undermined and that could spell a disaster for the current and next generations.

By: Philip Baidoo - Journalist, Cape Coast

Source: GBC News

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