The Ministry of Education, through the Ghana Education Service (GES), has unveiled a comprehensive sexual harassment awareness and prevention policy to make the school environment safe for students in pre-tertiary educational institutions.
The groundbreaking initiative, developed by the GES in partnership with stakeholders such as the Ghana TVET Service and Mastercard Foundation, aims to address the roots of sexual harassment and safeguard students within pre-tertiary educational institutions.
Launching the guideline at the 2023 National Education Week in Accra, the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, said the policy delineates clear guidelines on identifying sexual harassment, strategies for raising awareness among teachers and students, avenues for stakeholder training, and punitive measures for offenders.
Dr. Adutwum emphasised the timeliness of this initiative, aligning it with ongoing educational reforms in the country.
He expressed his commitment to ensuring a safe learning environment for children, asserting that the desired educational outcomes could only be achieved in a secure setting.
“While I believe in the professionalism of Ghanaian teachers, we acknowledge imperfections exist. This policy ensures that nobody engages in untoward behavior towards children, irrespective of gender,” Dr. Adutwum stated.
The Education Minister emphasised the importance of aligning the policy with existing laws, asserting that anyone exploiting a student would face legal consequences.
Training for teachers
To implement the policy effectively, Dr. Adutwum announced plans for comprehensive training for teachers, utilizing both virtual and in-person methods.
Additionally, he indicated that students will receive education on recognizing potential triggers and instances of sexual harassment.
Dr. Eric Nkansah, Director-General of the GES, and Gifty Sekyi-Bremansu, Director of Guidance and Counselling at the GES, joined the Minister at the launch.
Sekyi-Bremansu highlighted the shared responsibility in ensuring safe schools, urging stakeholders, including school authorities, parents, opinion leaders, and civil society organizations, to actively support the policy’s success.
She added that the unveiling of this policy marks a significant step towards creating a secure and conducive educational environment, aligning with global efforts to protect students and uphold their rights.
A 31-yesr-old teacher, Fedelix Kogbe, who defiled a 15-year-old pupil has been sentenced to 12 years in prison by an Accra Circuit Court.
He was charged with defilement, pleaded not guilty. The court presided over by Mrs Christina Cann, however, found Kogbe guilty at the end of the trial and sentenced him accordingly.
Kogbe was said to have defiled the victim on December 7, 2019, at Dome in Accra. The prosecution’s case was that the complainant is the father of the victim. They lived at Dome.
The prosecution told the court that Kogbe was the former teacher of the victim. On December 7, 2019, at about 0800 hours, the complainant left the victim at home and went to town. The prosecution said the victim invited Kogbe to her house to install software on her laptop. The victim was home alone when Kogbe visited, and they sat on the victim’s bed.
It said after Kogbe had finished installing the software and some songs on laptop, he kissed the victim and had sexual intercourse with her.
The prosecution said the complainant returned home at about 1100 hours and heard a male voice in the victim’s room. When the complainant knocked and opened the door, he saw the victim in a different dress from what she was wearing when he left the house, which made him suspicious.
The prosecutor said when the complainant entered the bedroom, he saw pieces of tissue paper on the floor, picked and sniffed them, adding “it smelled like sperms.”
It said the complainant searched the bedroom and found Kogbe hiding in the victim’s wardrobe naked. The prosecution said the complainant locked Kogbe and the victim in the house and reported the incident to the Police.