I have been following the debate and the brouhaha over whether to allow the Rastafarians into Achimota School without cutting their hair. Can one enrol in Ghana’s army and insist that he be allowed to keep his dreadlocks, on religious grounds? I think we tend to fun and pamper needless controversies.
There can be no society without standards. Every school has a standard that must be respected by those who want to go there. Don’t Muslims go to Christian Schools and sing Hymns? Don’t Christians go to Islamic Schools and comply with what happens there?
I am very impressed with the audacious decision of the head of Achimota School to assert authority and to rebuff the needless interference of the Ghana Education Service. The days of “Order from Above”, where heads of institutions abandon their own convictions and pander to the dictates of superiors, who are completely out of touch with what is happening on the ground, should be abandoned.
If all appointees would assert some independence and resign when authorities above them try to push them to act against their own convictions, Ghana will go places. Many appointees in Ghana tend to be so ignorant about their own tenures to the point that they pander to influences and dictates of superiors, even when they have security of tenure and cannot be dismissed or removed from office by their superiors or appointing authorities.
The resilience of the Achimota School head in defying the Ghana Education Service’s directives is commendable. This is in line with Jerry Rawlings”“Positive Defiance”. There are standards in training our children by the schools and unless there is something criminal being done by the schools, I believe the Ghana Education Service must allow the heads to run the schools. For if we pander to different religious dogmas, there would be no standards in schools and without standards, there can be no society.
We must respect all religions. But no religious belief or practice can be super-imposed on any secular institution of learning. SDA students, for instance, do not write exams conducted by my University because of their religious belief that enjoins them to do nothing on the sabbath day. Similarly, if for religious reasons, a certain standard of a school cannot be followed, it is the individual who must exercise a choice, and certainly, not the school that has its own standard.
Let us note that Ghana as a country, is actually a Transionsl Democracy, where Communitarianism holds sway over Liberalism. I leave the rest to my past and present Poli 442 (Social & Political Theory) Students who can even speak better to this issue within the context of the two taxonomies.
PAV Ansah Street
Suro Nipa House