On Sunday 8th May 2022, The Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG) broke the news about the unwarranted abuse and merciless caning of students by some seven (7) teachers of the Annor Adjaye SHS.
The entire nation reacted to the maltreatment as uncalled-for. New development and information available to the HRRG is that the visit by officers of the Western Regional Education office two days after the report is yielding positive results.
The Western Regional Education Director, Felicia Okai, has disclosed that teachers who inflicted cane wounds on students of Annor Adjaye Senior High School would be punished.
This piece of news has been welcomed by the Chief Executive Director of Human Rights Reporters Ghana, Mr. Joseph Wemakor. In an interview with The Ghana Education News, he indicated that, when the HRRG received the news of the abuse via a distress chat message, it was alarmed, and after confirming the story the organization took the necessary steps to put it out in the public domain for the needed action to be taken by those in authority.
“I am elated that our sacrifices towards ensuring a society where no one violates the rights of another and children are not abused is yielding results. We shall continue to follow the story to its conclusion however, we call on the Ghana Education Service (GES) to ensure that they make their final decision on the teachers found culpable in the Annor Adjaye SHS student abuse is made public. This will build trust and keep stakeholders informed” Mr. Wemakor added.
From the onset, some of the teachers who were involved in the barbaric act called the publication of the HRRG a bluff, however, the story soon found it way to top TV stations in the country (Onua TV, Angel TV) including Radio Stations (Angel FM, Boss FM, and others) before spreading across other affiliate stations of these media houses and every effort by the HRRG to ensure the story gets to the GES and the Ghana police service has yielded positive result and feedback.
There was an attempt to silence students and compel them to write an apology letter to the teachers however, the HRRG did not see the necessity of this and believed such a move will mess up the issue and make the students look guilty, the leadership of the HRRG advised that no such letter should be written not as a sign of disrespect but to preserve the sanctity of the substantive matters that need to be addressed.
The Western Regional Education Director while commenting on the videos and pictures that accompanied the HRRG publication said the educators had no right to beat the students mercilessly in the name of instilling discipline in them.
The Ghana Education Service (GES) in 2017 banned the use of canes and all forms of corporal punishment in schools to present such acts including torture and bullying, she indicated.
Madam Felicia Okai’s comments followed widespread reports that teachers numbering about seven from the Annor Adjaye SHS in the Jomoro Municipality have ‘brutally caned’ some 19 final-year students for being late to a Sunday Morning Service.
“The fact that they have broken the laws, there would be repercussions for that. They had no right to treat the children like that. Be assured that they would be duly punished”, she said while granting an interview on the matter on Angel FM’s Anopa Bofo Morning Show on Tuesday, May 10.
She confirmed the absence of the School’s Headmaster at the time of the incident as reported by the Human Rights Reporters Ghana in its breaking story released on Sunday, May 8, 2022 to all media houses.
She stressed that “we have banned corporal punishment in schools and the law is still in force. We send a gentle reminder every term to the schools.”
The Western Regional Education Director indicated that “we sent our Guidance and Counselling Coordinator and two directors in Jomoro and Axim to go and find out what happened as soon as we were notified of the incident.”
Madam Okai, who was unhappy about the development, questioned if the teachers would subject their children to such brutality.
“When I saw the pictures of the body wounds, I asked if they would beat their own children like that. Because if we want students to attend church, you don’t do so with canes… The matter has ‘disgusted’ everyone. They shouldn’t even have canes in the schools.”
The feedback “GES to punish Annor Adjaye SHS Teachers who mercilessly caned students” is a piece of welcomed news however we stress again that the outcome should be made known to the public.
Punishing culprits of the Annor-Adjaye SHS is just one way of dealing with the challenge and is more of a reactive approach rather than a proactive approach.
Going forward, the HRRG believes that it is important that, the GES and all stakeholders start to think of how to help teachers to stop the use of canes and to move canes out of the classrooms, and schools.
More training workshops with experts as facilitators have become more important if the spirit and letter of the policy is to be felt and implemented in our schools with teachers and heads of schools playing critical leadership roles.