One’s enjoyment of a right and performance of a duty is not mutually exclusive as the two are inextricably intertwined in nature. Also, rights have numerous limitations and therefore one can not lay claim to a right in absolute terms.
For example, one has the right to social services including social amenities like electricity but the enjoyment of electricity comes with a responsibility or duty of paying electricity bill failure of which your electricity is disconnected.
Again every Ghanaian of 18 years of age and above and with a sound mind has the right to vote at general elections and public referenda according to article 42 of the 1992 constitution but go and vote during an NDC delegate conference when you are not a delegate, not even talking about being a member.
Besides, there are a lot of limitations to claims of rights some of which are catalogued in the ensuing paragraphs below:
i. If you don’t register, you won’t be allowed to vote even if you are the only Ghanaian of 18 years or above and of sound mind
ii. People under the age of 18 years are also Ghanaians but they are not allowed to vote by virtue of the arrangement in article 42 of the 1992 constitution.
iii. You have the right to work but you have to meet the requirements. You can’t just walk into an office and claim you are a Ghanaian and you have the right to work so you have to work.
iv. One cannot claim to have the right or freedom of movement after committing a crime. Most definitely, that person will be confined to a certain small room called prison. The list of examples of rights and their corresponding duties or limitations are endless.
Therefore, right to education cannot be treated differently from the examples above. Most definitely, anyone who seeks to lay claim to right to education must be ready for some duties, obligations or conform with some rules and regulations which govern the conduct and behaviour of students in the school.
Most private schools have developed insatiable desire for-profit and have relegated moral uprightness as a major criterion to, admit students and to some unimaginable extent, performance in relation to the class such students are yo be admitted. Most definitely, the rasta student may not have come from any of the public basic schools, I can put this to anyone authoritatively as a person with humongous number of years experience as a teacher in the private schools myself.
Sadly, the Ghana Education Service (GES) does not have authority over the private schools on the kind of children they admit. It only exercises jurisdiction on curriculum implementation and other relevant matters and so it surprised me with its initial directive to the Headmistress of Achimota school to admit the rasta student because that would have ended up achieving nothing but only setting a dangerous precedence that would have allowed the unmitigated nonsense that has engulfed most basic private schools to spill over into the public senior high schools.
The rastafarians should understand that the enjoyment of one’s right ends at the point where another’s right begins so respectfully they ought to understand that we do not want to open the flood gate for other students to wear all forms of hair styles under the cloak of rastafarianism or citing them as a reference point, a lifestyle which may not necessarily be espousing rastafarian beliefs.
If a student can come to school being a rasta, can the GES stop a teacher from being same? Therefore, I applaud the Ghana Education Service for rescinding its earlier order relative to Achimota. I hear a rasta student has been admitted at OKESS in Kumasi. I respectfully appeal to the GES to do something about it before the problem becomes an epidemic difficult enough to eradicate.
Daniel Yiadom Boakye, © 2021
The author has 23 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: DanielYiadomBoakye