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Why the Education Minister Sees Achimota’s Hairstyle Debate As ‘Stupid’

Education Minister, has said that Ghanaians are wasting precious time discussing hair-related issues, following the refusal of Achimota School to admit students with dreadlocks.

Dr. Yaw Osei Aduwtum, who lived and worked in America as an educationist, sees the debate as ‘stupid’ at a time other countries are busily working their way into space through innovation, science and technology.

TV3’s Parliamentary Correspondent, Komla Kluste reported on Wednesday, March 24 that “So, I approached the Minister of Education yesterday for his opinion on the Achimota Rastafarian matter, he declined an interview saying that ‘when people are busy researching how to go to Mars, we are wasting precious time on hair discussion.”

“He won’t talk about this but STEM education,” Komla further reported.

Meanwhile, Dr Adutwum on Thursday, March 25, 2021, Dr Adutwum, said a yet to be approved Ghana Book Development Council Bill will provide that framework for sanctioning such deviant publishers.

Answering questions in Parliament, he blamed the circulation of textbooks with bigoted content against Ewes on the lack of an enforcement regime for the National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NaCCA).

He was responding to questions on the content of books that cast a slur on the Ewe people from North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

“The Ghana Book Development Council Bill has those provisions for sanctions to be taken against publishers like this. Unfortunately, the NaCCA Act does not make provision for that so in as much as you are scandalized and you do not want to see these things happening, in terms of the legal framework in which NaCCA operates, they do not have the room to do that but the Book Development Council is going to cure this deficiency.”

The Education Minister’s questioning in Parliament was occasioned by Okudzeto Ablakwa’s filing of an urgent question for the Minister to explain how the books got into the public domain.

He described the books as “bigoted.”

The content of the books sparked criticism on social media from members of the Ewe ethnic group who criticised the stereotypes.

The National Council for Curriculum Assessment subsequently clarified that the controversial textbooks had not been approved for use in schools.

The textbooks – History of Ghana, Text Book 3, was authored by Badu Nkansah and Nelly Martinson Anim; while the Golden English Basic 4 was authored by Okyere Baafi Alexander both of which were said to contain bigoted content targeted at Ewes.

The publishers subsequently apologised.

But the Executive Director of the National Commission on Culture, Janet Edna Nyame, has asked the Rastafarian family whose children were denied admission to the Achimota School to submit themselves to the rules and regulations of the institution.

She said every institution has rules and regulations that all persons seeking to do business with the entity must abide by.

Ms Nyame told TV3’s Selorm Amenya in an exclusive interview that the children must cut the dreadlocks in order to be accepted into the school.

In her opinion, cutting the hair will not affect the students in anyway because they are most likely to regain those looks after completing school.

“I believe the institutions have their rules and regulations. I have been a teacher before for over forty years and I never wanted the rules and regulations of my department or my school to be violated,” she said.

The former Educationist added “There is a saying that if you go to Rome do as they do. I believe that the institution is not refusing to admit them. But they are refusing for the fact that they are not compromising with their rules and regulations.

“So let us compromise with our rules and regulations and be comfortable. Every institution has it. So this should not be any serious issue.

“If I were a parent and they say I should cut the hair, I will cut it after all the hair will grow again when the child leaves school whatever he wants to do he can but for the fact that he is going to be under restrictions they should conform to the rules of the institutions.”

The Achimota School authorities refused some students with dreadlocks because their looks were contrary to the school’s rules.

The Achimota School Parent Teacher Association (PTA) executive have said they unreservedly and unequivocally support the schools decision to enforce its rules with respect to the admission of three students with dreadlocks hairstyle.

A statement signed by Dr Andre Kwasi-Kumah, Chairman of the PTA quoted the schools rules saying “According to the school’s revised rules and regulations (August 2020) Section H (General Appearance) item 3 states that ‘students must keep their hair low, simple and natural’.

“We, therefore, stand with the headmistress and welcome into our fold parents who are ready to abide by the rules and regulation of Achimota.”

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