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21.12.2004 Press Review

EDITORIAL: Danger in Our Schools, is Anyone Listening?

By Public Agenda

On the front page of Public Agenda is a chilling report of how kids in some Senior Secondary Schools have taken to occultism as a short cut to success.

What could be the possible reasons for children, as young as those in senior secondary schools, taking to juju or occultism to solve their problems? What has become of the parental guidance that molded children into responsible and God fearing adults?

Who would have taught that good schools like St. Peters, Pope John, Mfanstiman and Mfantsipim, would become breeding grounds for occultist?

For some parents, their children may not be involved in occultism, but they could be victims of other children's evil practices in schools, as students try to outsmart each other.

According to our investigations, those involved in occultism, use it to target hardworking and unsuspecting students. Their first aim is to hypnotize brilliant students to perform badly in order not to outshine them.

Secondly, they also rely on juju or charms, to pass instead of studying, persevering and passing the hard way. There are also reports of students using charms to snatch each other's boy friends or sugar daddies.

Whatever the situation, what has become of the role of parents and teachers in guiding students to become responsible adults? It is no more a secret that some SSS and tertiary institutions have become breeding grounds for all sorts of dubious religious organizations, sometimes with the connivance of school authorities.

Equally disturbing is the fact that even though our constitution bars parents from coercing children to join their sects until they are old enough to make informed decisions, many parents are flouting this constitutional provision by making assistance to their children conditional.

No doubt the breakdown in discipline among the youth has backfired on all Ghanaians. The alarming cases of examination leakages in recent times are there for all to see. The exam malpractices have raised question marks on the quality of the manpower our institutions are churning out.

Consider the number of students who were sacked last month from the University of Ghana, for using false results to obtain admission and you will begin to appreciate the level of indiscipline among the youth. If not for anything, the rate at which the country's universities and other tertiary institutions were expelling candidates for poor academic performance, lends credence to that fact.

Last week, the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Baah-Wiredu deplored the spate of leakage of examination questions and challenged students to work on their own to achieve success. He told students to avoid examination malpractices, saying that "short cuts in life do not bring success... laziness leads to poverty and hard work leads to wealth".

Baah-Wiredu also registered his displeasure at the involvement of some teachers in the leakage of questions, stressing that the Ministry and the Ghana Education Service (GES) would not condone the practice and would deal drastically with anybody involved.

We couldn't agree more with the minister, but we also urge him to go beyond mere words to taking action. For the ministry's failure to act on occultism and examinations malpractices in our centers of learning, is affecting innocent and diligent students.

No one needs to remind well-meaning parents, that it is time for them to take control of their children's future once more. In addition to providing the needs of their children, parents must always pray and be vigilant to ensure the proper upbringing of their children. They must also frequently engage them in dialogue if they are to detect some waywardness and indulgence of their children in occultism and related evil practices.

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