Anger expressed by the National Chief Imam, Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu and some Muslim groups about the refusal of the Wesley Girls’ Senior High School to allow their Muslim students to partake in the ongoing Ramadan fasting, has forced the GES into a hysterical concession.
For weeks now, the Headmistress of Wesley Girls SHS, Mrs. Betty Dzokoto had been on rampage reportedly terrorising Muslim students in the school with draconian restrictions based on the religious orientation of Muslim students in the school.
Earlier, Ms. Dzokoto had unilaterally banned hijabs in the school, and recently when the mandatory Muslim fast started, she reportedly barred the students from participating in the important religious obligations.
“Anytime Chief Imam hears this he feels disappointed, he feels worried, and when he calls and talks to me he’s like ‘these are the people that they hail praises on me, they show me great respect anytime, but my grandchildren are in their schools, and my grandchildren are not treated well,” Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, the Spokesperson of the Chief Imam said in an interview following news of the happenings at Wesley Girls.
Also, a group of Muslim groups called the Coalition of Muslim Organisations in Ghana (COMOG) issued a stern warning to the school head that they will not tolerate such discrimination against their wards.
Amidst the brewing tension, the Ghana Education Service was forced to back down, saying the Wesley Girls High School and other schools can allow students to fast on religious grounds, but their parents must write to the school “indicating that the school shall not be held liable for any health conditions of the student as a result of the fast.
In a statement issued on May 1, 2021, by Cassandra Twum Ampofo, Head of Public Relations Unit, she explained the reasons why fasting in schools have been a thorny matter of a delicate balance of the school taking health implications into consideration.
“Fasting undertaken by students for various reasons and observed differently by respective groupings have had varied health implications on our students over the years. The net effect was that students developed various health conditions. The school, therefore, took the decision, then, that irrespective of one’s religious background, fasting was not permitted,” the statement read.
It explained that the Minister of Education had to step in to resolve the impasse. “Having been appraised of the facts of this case, the Minister of Education met the Presiding Bishop Most Rev. Dr. Paul Kwabena Boafo and some board members of Wesley Girls High School…The Minister advised the Ghana Education Service to put in place measures to address this matter bearing in mind the rights of students and concerns of schools on the health risks associated with the fasting,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the popular Achimota Secondary School is in court at the moment after it refused to admit two students of the Rastafarian religion, claiming they must cut their dreadlocks or forfeit their admission.
While Achimota was denying the Rastafarians admission on grounds that it had strict rules against long hair, the same school was admitting European, Asian and Indian students with obvious long hairs. Indeed, a few of the European students have been seen spotting dreadlocks in the school.