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Achimota finally admits Rasta student Oheneba Nkrabea

One of the students involved in the landmark case between Achimota School and Rastafarians has reported for school.

Oheneba Nkrabea arrived on campus with his parents in the early hours of Thursday, June 3, 2021, dressed in khaki shorts and white shirts.

He had a brush and other items required of a new student set to be taken through the admission process in his hands.

The father, Ras Aswad Nkrabea, told The Ghana Report that they received a warm reception and the registration process was smooth.

The Accra High Court, on May 31, ordered Achimota School to admit two Rastafarian students, Oheneba Nkrabea and Tyrone Marghuy, who were earlier denied admission.

The two were denied admission because of their dreadlocks, but the court presided over by Justice Gifty Adjei Addo said the denial was a violation of their human rights.

“What has the wearing of dreadlocks which is a manifestation of one’s religious rights, got to do with upholding the discipline in the school?” she quizzed.

“I reject the argument of the respondents that upholding the reliefs of the applicant will discriminate against other students who abide by the rules of the school.

“Fundamental human rights are not absolute and can be limited by statutes and policies, but this must be juxtaposed with the public interest as in this current case.

“What reasonable justification has been put before the court in the implementation of school rules to convince the court to rule in favour of the respondents,” she noted.

The judge pointed that the ultimate aim of the rules was to enhance discipline and academic excellence. She wondered how keeping the dreadlocks was going to affect the school community regarding the two disciplines.

“How keeping low hair enhances hygiene in the school has not been expressed in this court and how the applicant keeping his dreadlocks would affect his health and the health of other students,” she reiterated.

After the ruling, Achimota School, through its legal team, announced they would appeal the decision and call for a stay of execution to suspend the execution of the court judgment.

“We have instructed our lawyers to appeal the decision,” a statement by the school said.

But the Attorney General, Godfred Dame, and Education Minister, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum insist the two dreadlock-wearing Rastafarian students must be amitted by the school

“The President will be concerned about any action which will prevent them [Rastafarian students] from going to school. So if students ought to go to school, the school ought to open its doors to them,” Mr. Dame said.

The education minister under whose ministry the Achimota school reports to through the Ghana Education Service reiterated the Attorney General’s stand

“I am very surprised. They cannot take that unilateral decision. I’m waiting for a full briefing from the Attorney General who I commend for going to court, so nobody can preempt us” he added.

Subsequently, in another statement on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, the school’s board said after consultations with relevant stakeholders, it had considered the interest of all parties.

The statement, however, added that it was committed to an appeal against the ruling of the High Court but backed down on the application for stay of execution.

“Further to our statement issued on 1st June 2021 on the subject of two Rastafarian applicants, we have been in consultation with other relevant stakeholders to seek the best ways forward, taking into account the interests of all parties.

“While the board remains committed to the appeal against the High Court ruling, it will withdraw the application for a stay of execution pending the determination of the appeal by a higher court.”

The impasse between the students and the school has been ongoing since March 19, 2021. 

Tyrone Marghuy and Oheneba Nkrabea were placed at the school through the Computerized School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS) after satisfying the entry requirement by creditably passing their Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE).

 

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