GES orders Achimota School to admit Rastafarian students

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The Ghana Education Service (GES) has reportedly ordered Achimota School to admit some two first-year students who have dreadlocks on their heads because they claim to be Rastafarians. 

GES Director-General, Professor Kwasi Opoku-Amankwa was quoted by Daily Graphic as saying “We have asked her [the headmistress of Achimota School] to admit the students.”

The two were among SHS freshers who started school on Thursday, but they were denied entry, per school rules, unless they took off their dreadlocks.

The father of one of the students, Raswad Nkrabeah, took to Facebook to condemn the denial of entry for his son because of his dreadlocks, insisting that the boy is Rastafarian and the religion requires that he kept the dreadlocks.

There is freedom of religion in Ghana and everyone is protected from discrimination based on his or religion under the 1992 Constitution, so the boy’s father did not understand why the discrimination against his son based on religion.

He therefore threatened to sue the A-class Achimota School, while looking for another school for his son, just in case the legal tussle was going to be protracted.

Since his Facebook post, there have been heated public debate over the matter, with practically everyone condemning the school for unfair discrimination and engaging in an illegality on many levels – freedom of religion, the right of every child to education, and right of every Ghanaian to be treated with dignity among others.

The critics include the former Member of Parliament for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak, who is a Rastafarian himself, but has no dreadlocks, Africa Education Watch as well as Child Rights International.

Indeed, many Ghanaians have also bashed the school heavily on social media.

GES has has subsequently ordered Achimota School to set aside any school rules and admit the boys on condition that they prove to be Rastafarians indeed, and if so they should be required to tie their hair neatly while in school.

The Director-General was quoted as saying “You cannot deny the anybody admission because of their religion. The students are Rastafarians and if there is evidence to show that they are Rastafarians, all that they need to do is to tie the hair neatly.”

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