TO ALL MEDIA HOUSES
DECEMBER 7, 2016 SHOULD BE DECLARED A PUBLIC HOLIDAY BY GOVERNMENT OF GHANATO ENABLE TEACHERS AND STUDENTS EXRECISE THEIR VOTING RIGHTS
We, the leaders of the Greater Accra and Ashanti Regional SRC wish to draw the attention of the Directorate of the Ghana Education Service concerning a circular issued by the Directorate of the Ghana Education service to the effect that December 7, 2016 should not be acknowledged or recognized as a public holiday for students and teachers.
Generally speaking, we are all fully aware of the fact that December 7, 2016 is not just any day, but a day the good people of Ghana will go to the polls to choose the next President of the Republic of Ghana and Parliamentarians of the same Republic for the next four years.
A greater proportion of our students are registered voters and therefore it is our inalienable rights to be part of this decision making process especially in the exercise of our franchise to choose our leaders without any hurdles or impediments for we are also Ghanaians who should have a say in this fledgling democratic decision making exercise.
We, the leaders of the Greater Accra Regional Students’ Representative Council (GARSRC) and the Ashanti Regional Students’ Representative Council (ARSRC) wish to express our disagreement with the Directorate of the Ghana Education Service regarding the decision that December 7, 2016 should not be recognized as a public holiday for teachers and students.
Our reasons for the disagreement are simple: That most schools are used as centres for polling stations across the country.
Therefore, teachers and students will need the utmost serene atmosphere for lessons or teachings, especially in the Basic schools; Noisemaking and expression of catcalls emanating from and among voters to complain about one omission or a perceived irregularity who are in a queue to exercise their franchise could make the environment academically unfriendly for concentration.
Honestly speaking, not all teachers may have registered in their schools which have been selected as polling stations centres. This demonstrates that some teachers ought to move or go to various destinations or polling stations centres where they have registered to exercise their franchise. How long will this take them to cast their votes and return to class for lessons to start?
This also means that, students are going to be in school without teachers for certain durations of which might exceed closing hours.
Furthermore, the tension that surrounds elections atmosphere coupled with unpredictable behaviour of some politicians cannot be down played in this situation.
The safety and security of a pupil or a student should also be considered.
We are also of the opinion that the Directorate of the Ghana Education Service is depriving us of our rights to vote as most schools have started exams.
Prudently no student will like to abandon the sitting for his or her exam for voting. By design, the Directorate of the Ghana Education Service has given us two options to choose of which we believe is indiscreet, undemocratic and cast a slur on our sovereign will as a people.
When will a student go to the polling station, join a queue to cast his vote and go back to school to sit for his or her exams?
We, the students who are credible voters are determined to vote for it is our inalienable rights.
It is very disappointing to know that such a circular is emanating from the Directorate of the Ghana Education Service regarding a sensitive matter such as a national voting exercise to choose our leaders.
We demand that immediate action is taken to address this concern to enable us to freely exercise our democratic rights to vote for the choice of our leader as far as the presidency of the Republic of Ghana is concerned.
We also want to state with emphasis that December 7, 2016 should be declared a public holiday by the government of the Republic of Ghana to enable teachers and students exercise their franchise.
Mumuni Gbene Adamu (GARSRC President)
Samuel K. Nkansah
Odartey Lamptey Samuel