EDUPACT shares some views on Achimota SHS Rastafarian students who have been denied admission

Background of the issue:

Two Rastafarian students were barred from beginning the academic year at the Achimota School because of their dreadlocks. Several Ghanaians have rebuked the school for taking such action. An earlier Ghana Education Service (GES) directive for the school to admit the students was rejected by the management of the second cycle institution. The school’s rejection was as well supported by the Old Students Association and the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) of the school.

*People’s views on the issue:*

On this current issue of Rastafarians not being allowed enrolment in the school, I have come across divided opinions as to why the school is right or wrong to keep to their regulations.

With the school of thought believing that so long as the students are brilliant, why should hair choices be a big issue to deal with. I would be quick to ask, are we ready to sacrifice the long-standing conduct of uniformity and a sense of discipline just because of mere personal liberty? Obviously, I disagree.

With the school of thought who affirm to the popular saying “when you go to Rome, do what the Romans do”, and believe rules are rules so the students must strictly comply as it has long been the norm. I would be quick to ask, are the rules of Rome as a City greater than the rules governing the whole of Italy as a Country? Clearly, I disagree.

With these scenarios, we should be convinced that the issue in itself has little to do with either the school or the individuals wanting to make a claim. It is premised on the constitution of the country as it stands. Our current national laws have made bold statements that “the practice of a major part of one’s religion is an allowable practice”. With these laws, it is undebatable that these individuals are right to fight for what is constitutionally accorded them.

If as a country we would not want to go that tangent of allowing free practice of parts on some religious believes in our institutions, then the constitution must be amended so no one bases on that to make a claim. As we stand, do our laws grant them that permission? Definitely, Yes. If we have an issue, we must channel it towards the drawers of our constitution and not either the institution or the individuals.

View by: Kamal S. Lambon.

Africa is our home, and whenever we mention Africa it means Black and Black stands for the Values, Morals of Africa. Our character and physical body define us as Africans, unique; whatever we do we’re conscious of our values and morals because it’s we.

Ghana is not exempted from Africa and citizens of Ghana are not obviously exclusive from upholding the values and morals of society. Rules and regulations are weaved around the values and morals we breathe from our society. Rules and regulations are set to curve an individual into a being which can sustain his/her value in society.

Achimota Senior High School is a society with her rules and regulations which help mould her pupils to a desirable goals. From the beginning of time, our educational institutions have constantly frowned against any actions which tarnish their image. Thus, we needn’t have to hold any qualms about the issue of Achimota Senior High School not accepting dreadlock which is against her(Achimota) laid down rules and regulations and extensively, an odd number among the culture of Ghanaian institutions.

We must be aware…the fact that we value Western currency doesn’t mean we should bury our coins. This scenario is an addendum which emphasizes on the need for us to stand holding onto our values and morals and not chasing the trends of the Western world: Africa is Black and Black is meant for values and morals.

We shouldn’t be taken aback that tomorrow some group of people will rise in this country and say that they feel comfortable walking naked, so society should allow them. if we rally behind the enrollment of pipuls with dreadlocks in our educational institutions, we are likely to receive a kind of group like these people, tomorrow.

Africa is Black and Black is meant for values and morals. Ghana is not exempted from Africa. We have to stand and defend our values. Ones aptitude can send him/her to the highest altitude but it takes attitude to be sustained in that heights. We should know that’s the aim of our values and morals, rules and regulations.

View by: Jacob Daniel Laari.

The issue of right or wrong is subjective to both parties in this discussion. I would want to begin my submission by addressing the biggest claim of the minor and his dad that the right to education is fundamental as enshrined in the 1992 constitution and in no way is the rules of a school superior over it. Rightly said. However, probably it may have escaped them that Achimota is by itself an entity and as such also has the right bounded by law to associate with or dissociate from anything. In this case, unfortunately, they shy away from the looks of the minor and his dad This is not to say that Achimota discriminate against their religion but only would want that in as much as they (Rastafarians) would want to be tolerated, they demand from the minor and the dad to tolerate their stance too. Again to the issue of foreigners in the school keeping long hair, it’s just a claim that holds no substance. Foreign students like expatriates are offered what exactly they would have enjoyed in their countries as tolerable by the laws of the state. Moreso, allowing liberalism is the basis for societal breakdown and one that should not be entertained in a school setting. Those who would want to compare our system to powerhouses like the USA forget that when they were 64, they were careful in implementing things that their system couldn’t accommodate. We will get there but no rush at all. In conclusion, there’s no one right or wrong, it’s only an issue of compromise where the minor ( who demands to be nurtured) needs to allow.

View by: Gideo Dadzie.

The basis of judgment of this issue, should be premised on our supreme constitution and not merely on “supposed” moral grounds. Our moral standards as a country are manifested in our constitution and it that which we all accept to govern us.

What then does our country say in the context that these Rastafarians want to maintain their hairs due to a core injunction in their religious practice? These fundamental rights (religious) are clearly allowed as per our supreme constitutional laws.

The school’s laws however long it may have existed must have clear parameters consistent with national laws. Should we have any issues with the constitution giving citizens the right to practice and manifest their religion, then our fights should not be directed to the Rastafarian who is simply fighting for his rights, but for the constitution to be amended or further clarified to suit our current stance as a country.

Legally, the Rastafarians have a case – for they have all the rights to practice and manifest a core part of their religious credo. Unless of course, we say Ghana doesn’t recognize Rastafarianism as a religion (which is not the case either). Lolx.


View by: Jamal S. Lambon Jnr.

I think Achimota School could have handled the situation better. Achimota may claim that the Rastafarians were denied admission because the school was following protocol. What this means is that there are some archaic regulations in schools that need revision. Revisions should ensure that no one is left out and of course, they must be in line with the constitution. Specifically, with this matter, there should be respect for religion – where there is genuine evidence for one – as the constitution aligns.

View by: Augustine Bannerman


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