The High Court's ruling on Achimota versus rasta students: Another exceptional milestone for the already spoilt Ghanaian students

Achimota School Front File photo of the Achimota School

Wed, 2 Jun 2021 Source: Daniel Yiadom Boakye

It is troubling to come to terms with the Judgement of the Human Rights Court 1 Division of the High Court's decision to use its conceive powers to force Achimota to admit students who are not ready to comply with the rules and regulations governing the conduct of every student of the school.

It is worthy of notice that enjoyment of right is not absolute. Indeed, we have group rights that only members belonging to such groups are entitled to and enjoyed conterminously with responsibilities on the shoulders of claimants of such rights.

According to University of Minnesota Human Rights Resource Center, "throughout much of history, people acquired rights and responsibilities through their membership in a group – a family, indigenous nation, religion, class, community, or state".

The scholarly quote above accentuates the fact that one could not lay claim to a right as a member of a group when that fellow had failed to perform the duties expected of him or her.

As such, obedience to the rules and regulations of a group such as a political party, a union and in this specific instance, Achimota school, is a duty compliance of which qualifies one to enjoy the right to not only learn, but also belong to the school as a member.

In furtherance of the above, enjoyment of rights and performance of duties is not mutually exclusive, they go hand-in-hand. There are several instances which limit the claim to a right. Some of the examples are;

1. Paying electricity bills before enjoying electricity as a social service.

2. Being a member of a group, a nation, a political party etc before you can vote. A Nigerian cannot come and demand the right to vote when Ghanaians are voting and an NDC member cannot vote during NPP's delegates conference and vice versa etc.

3. Universal adult suffrage as a requirement for voting. For example, one cannot vote if he or she is below 18 years even if he or she is the only Ghanaian.

4. Right to life can be curtailed in the wake of a committal of treasonable offence like a failed attempt to overthrow a constitutionally elected government etc.

5. A prisoner cannot lay claim to freedom of movement s a fundamental human right among others.

Right to Education could not be treated differently from the above because it is a right and ought to be enjoyed with limitations in the confines of rules to regulate the behaviour of students to prevent chaos and or preserve the cultural identity of the school in which one finds him or herself.

The essence of rules and regulations essentially is to regulate relationships fundamentally to ensure the students or members of a group generally put up a behaviour that is consistent with the norms of the school or group.

To appreciate this topical issue fully, people must apply themselves to become private school teachers where teachers can not even wear a decent beard to even think of having dreadlocks but children are allowed same.

The decision of the court has again emboldened the already spoilt Ghanaian student under the cloak of human rights, a right to education which is not absolute, because the student is constrained by the rules and regulations of the school and so decisions of this nature respectfully, is at variance with the long held axiom of attachment of rights to responsibilities as it were.

I believe with this decision which allows students-the subordinates, to wear dreadlocks to school, teachers- the superordinates, can not be forbidden to grow dreadlocks down the buttocks or waist level and those with bald head like mine can also wear dreadlock wigs to class going forward without any qualms.

Columnist: Daniel Yiadom Boakye
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