The reported death of a level 300 student of the Institute of Professional Studies (IPS), after students of the school embarked on a float through the principal streets of Accra, as part of activities marking their School Representative Council (SRC) week, must have come as a shock to the family of the deceased, the students, staff of the school and Ghanaians in general.
According to a Daily Guide report, the tragedy occurred at the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange, where the excited and packed to capacity students on the trailer were on their way back to school, when the deceased was said to have lost his balance and fell under the low loader vehicle which crushed him to death. The passing away of the student is a great loss to his family and the nation as a whole.
To the family in particular, their loss is a grievous one, since at level 300 in a tertiary institution, they were almost about to reap the benefits of their investment in an obviously brilliant and budding student, as described by course mates of the deceased.
Just last week, a similar misfortune struck a student of the School of Hygiene at Tamale, when during a float to mark the school's sanitation week, she fell off the vehicle which ran over her and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Tamale Hospital. The student was in her mid-20's and in her second year, with only two months to complete her course. Once again, the nation lost a fine brain through tragic circumstances.
Last academic year, some 30 students of the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana were arrested after they clashed with the police at Tudu, a suburb of Accra, whilst on a float to mark their 49th Hall Week celebrations.
These incidents once again brings to the fore the rampant abuse of floats by our students in the tertiary institutions. Although school authorities have made verbal comments in times when some of these floats had turned sour, they have been lax in making the disciplinary rod fall on the unruly students. Students will always want to display rebellion against school authorities, and exhibit youthful exuberances when they are let loose, especially during events like floats.
In the case of the IPS incident for instance, the school authorities had by a letter warned the SRC not to embark on the float, but to suspend it due to bad experiences from similar float activities. Yet, the students defied the school authority and went on the float which led to the death of their colleague student.
Do we therefore blame the school authorities who have been mandated to train the students, and in whose care they are? Sometimes, we should learn to be highhanded in controlling students, even if this might lead to teachers being unpopular with them.
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