The Ghana Education Service (GES) has directed the management of Wesley Girls SHS to allow Muslim students to partake in the ongoing Ramadan fast.
In a press statement dated May 1, the Head of Public Relations, Cassandra Twumasi indicated that students nationwide who wish to fast for religious obligations would not be hindered from doing so.
“The Ghana Education Service, therefore, directs authorities of Wesley Girls High School as well as any other school to allow any such student who wishes to fast for any religious reason to do so.”
However, the letter noted that parents of such wards are to write to the respective school relieving it of any obligation should such students suffer health complications.
“The parents of such student are also directed to write to the school indicating that the school shall not be held liable for any health condition of the student as a result of the fast. Staff, students and the general public are to take note,” Management stated.
Earlier this week, authorities of Wesley Girls SHS had been accused of preventing Muslim students from fasting during the ongoing Ramadan period by a parent.
Ishmael Zakaria Alhassan stormed the premises of the Cape Coast-based school on April 26, to withdraw his ward, Bushira Ishmael from the school after receiving a call from his daughter over the school’s decision to not permit all students to fast.
He, however, rescinded his decision after Bushira Ishmael decided to stay after a discussion with the school’s Headmistress on the said matter.
The issue, which was reported by JoyNews has since become a major topic with many legislators and religious leaders calling on the school to reconsider its stance as it infringes on the rights of students.
But responding to these concerns, the Ghana Education Service indicated that the school’s decision to hinder students from fasting was to prevent them from developing various health conditions and not to infringe on their rights.
They noted that past events where students had health complications due to fasting warranted the authorities to lay an embargo on fasting irrespective of one’s religious beliefs.
“Fasting undertaken by students for various reasons and observed differently by the respective groupings have had varied health implication on our students over the years. The net effect was that students developed various health conditions. The school, therefore, took the decision, then, that irrespective of one’s religious background, fasting was not permitted.
“It was therefore imperative that to ensure the health of students was not compromised vis-a-vis their organised school schedules, this long-standing practice had to be maintained. This was the basis for the refusal by the School authorities of the girl’s request to fast during Ramadan,” it stated.