The Managing Director of the Intercity STC Coaches Limited, Nana Akomea, has stated that the debate over the admission of two students with dreadlocks to Achimota Senior High School would not have come up if Rastafarianism was a recognised religion in Ghana.

According to him, the misunderstanding between the management of the school and parents of the students would not have been the case if they were Muslims.

He said this was the case because Islam was a recognised religion in Ghana, whereas Rastafarianism was not.

Mr Akomea was sharing his views on the ongoing brouhaha between Achimota School, the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the two Rastafarian students on Accra-based radio station, Peace FM.

He noted that although the Constitution stipulates that every Ghanaian had the freedom of religion, worship and association, there are rules and regulations guiding those rights.

He, therefore, advocated for the GES and its stakeholders to come out with standard rules for secondary schools in order to avert future occurrences.

Rastafarian schools

Meanwhile, the President of the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT), Angel Carbonu has suggested that if Rastafarians want their children to keep their dreadlocks on in Senior High Schools (SHS), then they should set up their own schools in Ghana.

“I don’t even know why the Rastafarians don’t have their own schools, because they’ve been in this country [Ghana] for a very long time,” Mr Carbonu said at a press conference in Accra on Monday.

According to him, every institution is bound by rules and regulations as was in the case of Achimota Senior High School; therefore, if Rastafarians want to access the school, they out to obey the school’s rules and regulations.

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Achimota brouhaha

The debate over the admission of two students with dreadlocks to Achimota SHS reached another stage Monday when the school stood its ground in asking the students to cut their dreadlocks before they would be enrolled.

At a meeting with the management of the GES, the headmistress of the school, Mrs Majorie Affenyi, and the parents of one of the students in Accra on Monday, the headmistress maintained that the students had not been denied admission to the school.

Rather, the decision was for them to cut their dreadlocks in conformity with the school’s rules.

The father of the student, Ras Aswad Nkrabea, who sat in the meeting, told the Daily Graphic that the headmistress insisted that the school would not bend its rules with respect to admission.

“The GES and the headmistress of the Achimota School came together and said my son cuts his hair. That is the position both of them took,” Ras Nkrabea said.

Next step

He said his next step would be to proceed to court but in the meantime he would find another school until the matter was settled.

“The next step is to take it to court and there’s no question about that. We are trying to find another school now for him,” he said, adding: “I was shocked at the decision of the GES today after last Friday’s directive.”

Rastafarianism

Rastafarianism is a religion that reportedly developed in Jamaica during the 1930s.

It is said to be both a new religious movement and a social movement by scholars of religion. There is no central authority in control of the movement and much diversity exists among practitioners, who are known as Rastafari, Rastafarians, or Rastas.