The Ghana Education Service (GES) has warned that its code of ethics frowns on male teachers using school girls as maidservants or sending them on errands to their houses to cook, wash or to do anything for them.
Madam Catherine Nutsugah Mikado, Director, Girl Child Education Unit of GES, who gave the warning, said “we have realised that male teachers are taking undue advantage of the girls by sending them on errands and abusing them unduly,” warning that such teachers would not be spared.
She was speaking at a Take Home Ration event organised by the World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday at Keri Junior High School (JHS) in the Nkwanta South Municipality of the Volta Region to present cash grants to girls for attending school.
The presentation of the cash grants to the girls formed part of the WFP’s Removing Barriers to Gender Equality programme to improve girls’ attendance and retention in schools in the Northern Savannah areas.
As part of the programme, adolescent girls in JHS 1 – 3 in participating schools received approximately GHc47 cash for attending school as per the criteria, for one month or GHc141 for three months.
The presentation of the cash grants to girls began simultaneously this week in all the participating schools in the Nkwanta South Municipality and Nkwanta North District.
Madam Nutsugah Mikado said male teachers who sent girls on errands to their houses ended up impregnating them adding “Some are having sex and sometimes when the girls refuse their proposals, they punish them, they mark them down, which is not good.”
She said such a practice was not motivating enough for the girls to stay in school “When we are trying everything possible to retain the girls in the school. It is very sad for some teachers to be using this kind of intimidation to demotivate the girls and at the end of the day, the girls drop-out from school.”
She warned male teachers not to send the girls to their houses for anything adding “If they want maidservants or people to serve them, they should get their own people to serve them because we have realised that it is causing a lot of havoc to our girls.”
Her statement drew wild applause from the audience comprising parents, traditional authorities, opinion leaders and pupils from the community, who gathered to observe the event, implying that the practice was widespread.
Madam Nutsugah Mikado said “There is a guideline that when you get pregnant, you should remain in school but you know that when you get pregnant there are so many challenges so we want to avoid it to prevent the pregnancy for the girls so that they can remain in school and learn in comfort so that they can progress.”
She lamented that parents sometimes refused to support authorities when they handed over such teachers to law enforcement agencies saying it was a challenge to ensuring that such erring teachers were punished to deter others.
Mr Dzorgbenyui Banini, Nkwanta South Municipal Coordinating Director urged parents amongst other stakeholders to prioritise education of their children to produce responsible citizens.