The Association of Catholic Heads of Higher Institutions (ACHHI) has called on education stakeholders to consider reviewing disciplinary systems and policies to fight growing indiscipline in Senior High Schools (SHS).
“With the inception of the Free SHS coupled with increasing enrolment, students discipline has become a major concern,” Mr Fabian Bezel, Upper West Regional Chairman of the Association, said during their 39th national conference held in Wa.
The annual national conference of catholic heads of higher institutions was held under the theme: “Ensuing discipline and quality education in the era of Free Senior High School education in Ghana, the role of stakeholders”.
Mr Bezel said quality education is related to learning outcomes of the educational system and this is what the education system ultimately produces.
“This calls for periodic review of the school’s disciplinary systems and policies in terms of the strategies that need to be incorporated to manage the sophisticated and changing trends of students’ behaviour,” Mr Bezel said.
While urging education stakeholders to promote discipline in SHSs, he said, quality education cannot exist if discipline which serve as the basic complement of education is not given its rightful place in the nation’s educational sector.
Mr Bezel, who is also the principal of Kaleo Saint Basilides Vocational Technical Institute, added that, “In order to ensure discipline and quality education in this era of free SHS, the onus lies on all stakeholders to actively and effectively play their respective roles”.
Dr Hafiz Bin-Salih, the Upper West Regional Minister, expressed worry about rampant demonstrations staged by SHS students in the region as a way of airing their concerns- this often leads to the destruction of properties and loss of lives.
The institutional heads ought to be more innovative and create more room for the use of dialogue in addressing students’ grievances to avert violent behaviours by students, he said.
Dr Bin-Salih commended the association of catholic heads for coming out with the theme focusing on discipline and quality education for discussion towards achieving academic excellence in Ghana.
Rev Father Nicholas Kwame Apetorgbor, National President of the Association, said the Free SHS would benefit the poor in society, however, “We think that education is not just about churning out large numbers of individuals from schools. Individuals who benefit from education should experience quality education”.
He called on teachers, school heads, parents and government to ensure that discipline prevails in the conduct of West African Senior School Certificate Examinations.
Rev Apetorgbor said discipline and quality education in the era of free SHS implementation could not be attained if the roles of stakeholders were not clearly delineated.
The introduction of Free SHS has resulted in increased enrollment and heightened students’ indiscipline, raising concerns among stakeholders who in separate occasions have called for periodic review of the disciplinary systems and policies, he said.
Rev Apetorgbor said discipline and quality education were inextricably linked and called on stakeholders to institute pragmatic measures against deviant behaviours including smoking, use of mobile phones by students during contact hours, examination malpractices and sexual harassment.