The decision of the High Court in ordering the Achimota School to admit the Rastafarian students reminded me of exactly the way I felt when the International Tribunal on The Law of the Sea(ITLOS) unanimously delivered a judgement in favor of Ghana against the Ivory Coast in a maritime dispute. I could not be less proud of being a Ghanaian.
For some of us, all was done and the Rastafarian students were going to be admitted in Achimota subject to an order from the Court the moment the matter went to Court.
I knew on the face of the law and the constitution for that matter, the students would eventually be admitted.
The key points in this litigation in my opinion was as to whether Rastafarianism was a religion or not and whether Rasta hair was a symbol of Rastafarianism or not.
Interestingly, the legitimacy of the religion and its symbol was not raised at all by counsel for the defendant, Achimota.
That in my opinion was the deal breaker.
I think we have gotten to a stage in our education as people where conscious efforts must be made to restructure the rules in all levels of our educational sector.
Some of us are of the view that, the rules and regulations in our educational sector, especially on the senior high school level, were couched long time ago to suit colonial conditions and practices and so therefore, it is about time changes are made to fit the times we are in.
I do not foresee how the hairstyle of a student especially on the basis of religion constitutes indiscipline.
If we are so religious and have much respect for religions of all kinds and culture, why the stereotype?
It is even more surprising that, the school ignored the grades the students scored and were only paying attention to their outlook (hairstyle) when in fact, it is with the same hairstyle that they have been excelling from the lower level and they have never had any disciplinary issues.
The Court has ruled and the judgement must be respected by all sides in the matter.
Going forward, the Ghana Education Service (GES) must make comprehensive amendments to school rules that would be binding to all schools in the country irrespective of its denominational background.
The students must be treated equally and fairly by all students and teachers.
I am equally of the view that, the headmistress, who defied an order by GES and allowed the matter to drag this far which has made the students miss their studies so far must be transferred to make the environment more accommodating for the Rastafarian students.
The judgement from the High Court is very welcoming and has increased the level of confidence Ghanaians have in the Judiciary.
I do not expect the school to appeal this judgement as it would further be a dent in the reputation of the school.
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