Dreadlocked student’s mum deplores Achimota School rejection

The mother of one of the Rastafarian students denied admission to Achimota School, has expressed disappointment over the school’s decision.

Maanaa Myers said she was taken aback as the school offered no room for compromise.

“They were only insisting that we cut the boy’s hair. I even asked if there is any compromise where we can tie the hair in a certain way, but they simply said no.”

She said in an interview with CitiNews monitored by theghanareport.com, after a meeting with the school and the Ghana Education Service.

Authorities of the Achimota School last week Thursday turned away two dreadlocked students, asking their parents to cut off their hair or find another school for them.

Although the Ghana Education Service (GES) directed authorities to admit the students, a lawyer with the Rastafari Council Ras Tetteh Wayo said the service had made a U-turn on its initial directive.

READ: Two dreadlocks-wearing students were denied admission at the Achimota School on March 19, 2021.

Genesis of the problem

A parent of one of the affected students, Ras Aswad Nkrabea, took to social media to express his frustration over the development.

“The school authorities denied two brilliant dreadlocked students from being admitted, after having been posted there by the Computer School Placement System.

“My son was one of the affected children and the other student was also refused on the same grounds,” the disappointed father narrated in a Facebook post.

This generated public uproar with a section of Ghanaians calling out the school for discriminating against the students.

Breach of Right to Education

The development sparked public outrage on social media with a section of the public condemning the actions of the authorities at Achimota School.

The Executive Director of the Africa Education Watch, Kofi Asare, vehemently condemned the decision of the school to deny the Rastafarian students admission.

Article 25 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana establishes the right of the Ghanaian citizenry to have access to equal educational opportunities and facilities.

Mr. Asare pointed out that the authorities at Achimota School have breached this provision of the constitution.

“The issue of education being a right is explicit in Article 25 of the 1992 Constitution… Section 3 and 8 of Act 560, explicitly states that no person shall discriminate against a child on grounds of Religion and Custom.

“And in section A, the same Act provides that no person shall deprive the child access to education.  On the basis of Article 25 of our constitution and its attendant regulations in the Children’s Act, no agency in this country has the right to deprive a child of the right to education.

“They’re wrong. I’m not the one saying they’re wrong. The Act of Parliament, Act 560, Section A is saying they’re wrong because they have discriminated against the child and denied the child his right to education,” Mr. Asare said in an interview.

It is almost an annual ordeal for Rastafarian families to be denied admission into second cycle institutions due to their dreadlocks.

Kofi Asare charged the Rastafarian Council of Ghana to go to court to put an end to their frustrations.

“It’s been happening over the years and anytime it happens, it ends with threats of court action and that’s it. I’ll encourage the Rastafarian Movement to this time, take their threats of court action to the court.

“Until we have the Rastafarian Council seeking an interpretation in the Supreme Court, and testing the legality and Ghana Education Service (GES) code of conduct under which schools keep turning away and depriving children who are Ghanaians their right to education, this will continue,” he said in an interview on Accra-based Starr FM.

Previous incident

The practice of school authorities turning away Ghanaian students with dreadlocks is an old one.

In September 2017, a teenager was denied admission into Accra Girls Senior High School because she had dreadlocks.

According to the father, his daughter is a Rastafarian and it was against their religion to cut off the locks.

The distraught father said efforts to explain issues to school authorities proved futile.

He was convinced the school’s decision to deny his daughter admission is borne out of ignorance.

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