Achimota School, National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) have been caught doubling in hypocrisy by favouring foreigners resident in Ghana, while stereotyping Ghanaian students.
Achimota School, had refused to admit some two Ghanaian boys – Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea and Tyrone Iras Marhguy into the state-run second cycle school because of their long hairstyle, also known as dreadlocks as a result of their Rastafarian culture.
But the same school, has been shown to have students of European, Asian and American descents with longer hairstyles, while driving away the Ghanaian students, insisting they shaved off their hairs or forfeit their admission.
Many have since taken to social media platforms to reveal several students who had either completed Achimota School or are currently in the school keeping their long hairstyles pointing out how perverse, corrupt and unfair the system is in that school.
Most of the commentators passed negative comments on the attitude of the school with some accusing it of racism in favour of the white-coloured students against their own nationals.
The back and forth, had gotten GES, which initially backed the students and decreed that they must be admitted into the school, later changing its stance.
But NAGRAT later waded into the situation and declared its support for the school against the initial stance of GES. This also forced many users of the various platforms to release more picture of students in other Ghanaian schools, including Accra Academy and St Peter’s SHS at Akwatia – Eastern Region wearing dreadlocks, confirming that something either a norm was driving the decision of Achimota School not to admit the two boys.
But the situation has since forced members of the public, including ex-students of Achimota School flooding the media platforms with white-coloured students mostly girls with longer hairstyles than the Ghanaian students.
These instances have gotten people questioning why the school, GES and NAGRAT were asking the Ghanaian students to cut theirs before being admitted into the school.
Parents of students had cited their religious beliefs as the basis behind their long hairstyles.
Interestingly, one of them who had wanted to seek solace in his second choice school; St John Grammar School where his two siblings had been admitted, got his parents called for a discussion on the length of their hair something the authorities had previously ignored.
Meanwhile, the Parents Teacher Association (PTA) of Achimota School, says it fully supports the decision of the school’s management not to admit students with dreadlocks if they fail to cut them.
The PTA in a statement signed by the Chairman, Dr. Andre Kwasi-Kumah, said the school’s rules that insist that all students must keep their hair low, simple and natural cannot be compromised or exceptions made.
They said making exceptions to the rule could create a situation where many other students would make requests to keep their preferred hairstyles.
Such a development, they insist, will breed indiscipline.
“This age-old rule has prevented unnecessary attention and time-wasting with ‘non-school’ hairdos. Any exceptions to this rule on religious grounds would open the floodgates for all types of hairstyles and breed indiscipline,” the Association said in a statement.
Authorities of the Achimota School had on Thursday turned home the dreadlocked students, asking their parents to cut off their hair or find another school for them.
After public outrage, GES directed the school to admit the two first-year students in spite of their dreadlocks but subsequently made a U-turn.
The father of one of the affected boys, Raswad Nkrabea, has said he will seek legal redress.
The Achimota School PTA said it supports the school’s decision and “welcome into our fold, parents who are ready to abide by the rules and regulations of Achimota school”.
Ras Asward Nkrabea says his son, Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea, has been scarred and traumatized after being denied admission into Achimota School.
Although, Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea and another Rastafarian student were posted through the Computerized School Placement System, they were unable to enrol into the Senior High School because of their dreadlocks.
Following this, Ras Nkrabea revealed in an interview with JoyNews that his son is presently receiving treatment at a psychological institution.
“There have been damages because the boy went through a whole lot of trauma. We had to take the child to a psychiatric hospital because of the fact that he was traumatized by the whole issue.”
According to him, the wavering stance of the GES on his ward’s enrolment has contributed to his child’s trauma.
“One would ask the question, why would a so-called reputable and respectable institution say one thing, and in the next moment do something else? To me, I find that very hypocritical and it means that their arms have been twisted for them to come out with that position. You say something on Saturday and then you change your position on Monday without explaining to the public why you are changing your position. So to me, it doesn’t make much sense to me,” he stated.
In an earlier directive by the GES, Director-General, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa, said the authorities of Achimota School cannot refuse to admit the two students.
“You cannot say that you will not admit someone on the basis of the person’s religious belief and so we have asked the head to allow the children to be in school,” it explained.
However, after a recent meeting with the GES and the Achimota School authorities, Ras Asward Nkrabea, revealed that the GES backtracked on its earlier decision and refused to enroll the two Rastafarian students.
“Because when I was in the meeting, it seemed that they were bowing to the Headmistress as if to say the school is superior to the constitution. The GES is there to work for the people and not for the leaders of the school. In that meeting, there was a lot of condescending behaviour from those there.
“They scorn dreadlocks, they scorn the African culture and they scorn Rastafarian. Their attitude was like ‘you are nothing so we can tell you and do anything we feel like doing and that was their approach,” he narrated.
He also indicated that the only alternative provided by the school for the two students to be admitted was for the wards dreadlocks to be cut off.
“In that meeting, they claimed that the only way they will be accepted in the school is to cut the child’s deadlocks and we said no. Why should I do that when the constitution has given me the right. It has given the child the right to his religion and to have his culture,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Lawyer for the Rastafari Council, George Tetteh Wayo, says the Council is looking to enroll the boys in another school.
“The kids will still go to other schools, we know other schools will still admit them. The young man who had six (Aggregate 6) is part of a triplet, his two sisters have gotten admission at St. John’s Grammar,” the legal practitioner said.