The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has criticized the Ghana Education Service (GES) over what he described as “harsh” and “high-handed” punishment meted out to some 14 who engaged in acts of violence during the ongoing West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

The GES in a statement issued on Friday announced the dismissal of the students and also barred them from writing the rest of the papers.

However, commenting on the issue, Mr. Ablakwa, who served as Deputy Education Minister in the erstwhile Mahama administration stated that the GES action is not the best way to address the situation.

“I have always subscribed to punishment that reforms and not a punishment that destroys.

“The offending students could be made to sign a bond of good behaviour, allowed to complete the final examinations after which the release of their results may be delayed until surcharging and counselling obligations have been carried out. We do not have to destroy the future of these teenagers.”

Read full statement below

To be succinct: the GES sanctions meted out to the named SHS students are harsh, high-handed, whimsical and could prove counterproductive.

I am one of many who have already condemned the misconduct of the WASSCE candidates which we saw in viral videos on social media.

However, if there must be punishment, although I take the view that their apologies could have been considered – I have always subscribed to punishment that reforms and not punishment that destroys.

The offending students could be made to sign a bond of good behaviour, allowed to complete the final examinations after which the release of their results may be delayed until surcharging and counselling obligations have been carried out. We do not have to destroy the future of these teenagers.

While pursuing the reformative punishment I propose, it is absolutely essential that independent investigations are conducted into the circumstances that led to the rather strange expectations and conditions that have brought us to this embarrassing juncture. In other words – who told the students to expect a particular set of questions? Who assured them of weak and compromised invigilation? Why did some teachers gang up with students to attack WAEC officials? Why does it appear that students were simply not prepared for the WASSCE, what went wrong?

These are fundamental issues for which we must seek urgent answers and for which arbitrary destructive punishment does not address.

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