President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has cautioned against using the nation’s schools as places “to fight ideological and religious battles”.
He noted that boarding schools have traditionally served as training grounds in learning about each other, tolerance and losing the fear of the unknown, and therefore should not be turned into a place for such battles.
The President gave the caution yesterday when he addressed Muslim faithful at the forecourt of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Accra, to mark this year’s celebration of the Eid-Ul-Fitr.
Referring to Article 21 of the 1992 constitution, he pointed out that Ghanaians should be proud that the constitution simply reinforces these characteristics, saying “it should, therefore, be easy for us to uphold these basic and fundamental tenets that hold us together.”
“That is where young Ghanaians learn to eat each other’s food, that is where they learn the songs and dances of the different parts of the country, that is where they learn about each other’s religions and that is where lifelong friendships are forged. These schools must necessarily have rules and regulations that enable them to function. It would be a strange child that did not find some school rules irksome and then look back on them with fond nostalgia in later life,” he said.
He added: “Throughout the years, the schools have, by and large, managed to find a reasonable, balanced atmosphere to enable our young people to flourish, and this has served us well. The schools have evolved and adapted their practices to suit the times, and I would urge that we do not turn them into the places to fight ideological and religious battles.”
He has therefore called on all citizens to help preserve the enviable inter-religious coexistence that has kept the country going.
He said in the specific case of the incident at Wesley Girls High School, which has given rise to the recent discourse on religion, the Ministry of Education, the leaders of the Christian and Muslim communities, and the leadership of the school “are engaged in solemn discussions about the way forward.”
He assured that a satisfactory solution was being found to put the issues to rest, and thanked the National Chief Imam for the leadership shown in the midst of the matter.
He said young people deserve a peaceful atmosphere to be able to deal with the many challenges of studying and acquiring knowledge.
Opportunities for all
The President gave the assurance that his government would continue to build an all-inclusive society that creates opportunities for all, irrespective of their circumstances.
In that regard, he said, the aggressive policy development of the inner cities and Zongo communities would be pursued to the letter, adding that all the sad falsehood being propagated that the government had given up on the Zongo development agenda should be ignored.
“The reality on the ground shows, clearly, we are on track. The Zongo Development Fund, which has been the instrument for the transformation of Zongo communities, led by the hard-working Sulemana Arafat, is as vibrant as ever and focused on the Zongo Transformation Agenda… Together with my Vice President, your own Alhaji Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, we will guide its work, and ensure the highest standards of commitment from its operatives,” he said.
He added: “I am, thus, appealing especially to our young people to keep the faith. We shall weather the storm together, and create the conditions that will allow you to realise your God-given potentials.”