The education ministry is calling for a change in existing policy that allows the Ghana Education Service to investigate allegations of sexual abuse of students brought against teachers.
Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, says the GES, the employer of teachers, is not allowed to investigate such allegations.
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His comments follow allegations that teachers at the Ejisuman Senior High School in the Ashanti region have sexually abused female students.
A seven-member committee set up by the Ghana Education Service has submitted its report, awaiting briefing from GES to the Minister of Education.
But Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum tells Nhyira FM’s Ohemeng Tawiah the frequency at which child abuse cases are reported against teachers and educational workers means more needs to be done to protect children.
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“Giving the frequency with which some of these reports come to our knowledge, we have to really look at our policy and the GES policy on child abuse reporting and be able to have a situation where the police are rightly at the forefront of this, while allegations happened. The international best practice; it is police that takes the front roles. They are the ones that investigate and GES will do its professional responsibility so it shouldn’t be the other way around.
“We are in 21st century and we have to begin to make sure children are protected”
There are reports students who testified against their teachers in the Ejisuman SHS sexual exploitation investigations are being victimized.
Dr. Osei Adutwum says a change in policy direction will empower more victims of sexual abuse to boldly report their ordeal as the ministry would be working with other agencies to safeguard the protection of children.
“We are going to look at inter-agency collaboration to ensure that these allegations are taken seriously.
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“When allegations are made in places around the world, the employer doesn’t have the luxury of being in the front row. The front role; the lead role should be law enforcement and the employer at the back row. We really, had to begin to take a look at those policies.
“There are some policies that have been here for generations, and we are in 21st century. We had to begin to take a serious look at how we implement those policies. No child should be targeted if it is true. No child should feel that if they tell the truth, somebody will target them” he said.