he Ghana Education Service (GES) has downplayed public concerns over the long hours public school pupils were made to stand in the scorching sun to wave at the visiting Ivorian President on Monday.
In an interview with Accra-based Starr FM, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the GES Rev Jonathan Betteh said he did not see anything wrong with the act since it was a norm.
“If the act is something so bad, the Regional Director of the GES wouldn’t have allowed that to happen. I do not see why we should seek permission from parents before taking them out to wave at dignitaries. There is no policy against children waving at visiting Presidents when they are in town. I honestly do not see anything wrong with the school children lined up to wave at a visiting President, I don’t think it is a big deal.”
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) David Ofori Acheampong also supported the position of the GES but added that learning hours could be lost.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with the school children welcoming Presidents and dignitaries. But the teaching and learning periods will be lost and teachers will have to do more. The teachers may have to rush students through lessons they lost as a result of welcoming dignitaries.”
Most Ghanaians on social media expressed their displeasure at how public school pupils were made to line up on the scorching sun along the streets of Accra to wave miniature flags at Presidents Akufo-Addo and Alassane Ouattara as they drove through the capital.
A policy analyst with IMANI Ghana Selorm Brantie is of the view that the practice must be reconsidered and possibly modified to suit the current times.
“Maybe, it is time we revise some of these things. We should look at different ways of getting children get in contact with visiting Presidents. A short visit by the dignitaries to the schools will do as well.”