Regional News Thu, 15 Jun 2006

Forum on violence against children held

Accra, June 15, GNA - Participants at a national forum on violence against children on Thursday asked the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports to delve into and review activities of schools and teachers, who subjected young children through stressful events in the name of extra classes after school hours.

They contended that such children, usually in nurseries, kindergartens and lower primary, were already stressed out after normal teaching hours but teachers continued to insist in organising extra classes for them.

The forum was organised by the Department of Children under the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) to usher in the Africa Union (AU) Day of the African Child, which falls on June 16. This year's celebration, marking the 17th anniversary of the establishment of the Day, has the theme: "Right to Protection, Violence against Children".

Participants were drawn from all sections of society including children, security services, civil society and child advocates. They suggested that rather than taking young children through such ordeal after school hours, they should be made to sleep to relax their minds and bodies while they waited for their parents and guardians to pick them home.

"My daughter, a class one pupil, came home after school one afternoon and just exclaimed, 'I am tired=92", a Participant noted. Mr Peter Eduful, a Director at the Department of Children, MOWAC, emphasized that the issues of extra classes, which put a lot of strain on young children and urbanisation, which also affected the development of children, should be investigated and addressed appropriately. The use of the word "correction" instead of "punishment" must be used in reforming children from a bad habit, Mr Sylvester Kyei-Gyamfi, a Researcher at MOWAC, advised.

Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo, a Consultant in Gender, Child Development and Social Policy, said parental education on good parenting practices impacting on present situations must be organised by State agencies and other stakeholders for parents to know how best they were to train their children into better adulthood.

Source: GNA