A move to put to rest rampant student unrests at second-cycle institutions in the Upper East Region is underway at the instance of the regional Peace Council.
The council is undertaking a tour of the region’s 34 secondary high schools (SHSs) to roll out peace clubs as part of measures being deployed to roll back disturbances in boarding schools.
Between 2014 and 2016 alone, students waged violent protests in 14 public senior high schools, an alarming 70% of the region’s 20 public second-cycle schools at the time.
Widely blamed on improper management of grievances, the developments saw school properties as well as teachers’ assets vandalised with most of the schools indefinitely closed down in the aftermath of the upheavals.
The first-ever inauguration in the region of the ‘campus peace clubs’ initiated by the council took place last week Friday at the Sirigu Integrated Senior High School, where a drama entitled: “Forgive the Royal Child,” was enacted by a group of students to highlight the need for dialogue and for peaceful co-existence.
The inaugural ceremony, witnessed by the school’s staff, was carried out by the council’s Education Sub-Committee, led by Oscar Mac Avomah.
He was accompanied by other members of the committee—Sheik Abubakar Abdul-Rahaman, Rev Eric Adjei Nmai and Ali Anankpieng.
“As a country, we can point to the recent acts of vandalism and intimidation by some youth that threaten our peace and security. The truth is that the youth are crucial in peace building but they are ill-equipped to engage in dialogue and problem-solving, and this somewhat explains their quick resort to violence.
“Today’s activity is part of the range of activities the National Peace Council believes will help equip our youth with the necessary critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed for their constructive participation in the governance of our country,” said Mr Avomah at the event.
The Upper East Regional Secretary of the National Peace Council, Ali Anankpieng, listed a number of factors believed to have sparked the riots seen in recent times at boarding schools in the region.
They are “alleged imposition of regulations on students, unwillingness of students to submit to school authority and discipline, alleged charging of unapproved fees, lack of response to student grievances by school management, cancellation of entertainment programmes, allegations of leaked examination papers and delayed examinations, publication of names of students who performed poorly in terminal exams and denial of meals as punishment for misconduct.”
Among the riot-rocked schools were the Awe Senior High School, the Bawku Senior High School, the Bolgatanga Senior High School, the Bolgatanga Technical Institute, the Fumbisi Senior High Agric School, the Gowrie Senior High School, the Kongo Senior High School, the Navrongo Senior High School and the Sandema Senior High School.
The rest include the Sandema Senior High Technical School, the Sirigu Integrated Senior High School, the Zamse Senior High Technical School, the Zebilla Senior High School and the Zuarungu Senior High School.