General News of Mon, 4 Dec 201723

Education Minister didn't tell students to defecate in rubber bags - Ministry of Education

Ministry of Education has debunked media reports which sort to interpret that the Minister of Education Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has asked senior high schools students to use polythene bag if they lack toilet facility in their schools.

At a news conference last Thursday November 30, 2017, Dr. Prempeh answering a question on lack of toilet facility in some schools under the Free SHS educational policy said “There are few schools that still lack toilets; that is not the result of free SHS. So when you see students portraying that somebody says I do it in a rubber bag and I walk 45 minutes, at least you have the rubber bag”.

This the education ministry believes it was taken out of context and has been published on various online portals.

In a press statement issued on Monday December 4, 2017, the ministry stated that “What the minister said was a side comment after a presentation of facts that debunked incorrect assertions that the implementation of the Free SHS policy had caused congestion, leading to some students having to empty their bowels in polythene bags. His exact words were"

Below is full statement

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A Facebook post by JoyNews has led to the misinterpretation of what was meant to be a solid response to recent news of congestion in schools and has now been taken completely out of context by various media houses and bloggers.

The post with the caption “LACK OF TOILET FACILITIES: ‘At least you have the rubber bag’ -Education Minister Matthew Opoku Prempeh tells SHS students” was published JoyNews online on the 30th of November 2017 and has now been shared, with the truth twisted and distorted to the detriment of the image of the minister.

What the minister said was a side comment after a presentation of facts that debunked incorrect assertions that the implementation of the Free SHS policy had caused congestion, leading to some students having to empty their bowels in polythene bags. His exact words were "

“There are few schools still in Ghana here, that are secondary schools that have no toilets; that is not the result of free SHS. So when you see some people portray that some people say “when I go I do it in a rubber bag and walk 45 minutes… (at least you have the rubber bag).””

Obviously this is different from what has been reported and circulated.

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Certainly the Minister did not tell students to defecate in rubber bags. This deliberate distortion is wicked and malicious and clearly designed to take attention away from the solid and concise presentation by the Minister on the Free SHS programme. One can only wonder what motivated the decision to focus on this otherwise insignificant side comment by the Minister.

The Ministry of Education will like to caution media houses spreading this wrong information to desist from doing so further and also to quote the Minister correctly.

Media houses and bloggers are also advised to adhere to the standard procedures of journalism and publishing by double checking the facts of a story before posting to avoid misleading the public on sensitive issues.

Source: Laila Abubakari

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