The students of the Bolgatanaga Technical Institute could have been easily dismissed as being prankish when they hit the streets of the Upper East Regional capital last week. That of course should not be the case because the students stood on solid grounds as they protested.
If they went overboard somewhat that should be another issue and we would not subscribe to actions which include the destruction of public property which we doubt they did anyway. Indeed had they not demonstrated and therefore attracted the authorities’ attention, the multifaceted challenges facing the school would not have been known and the principal at large would have continued being so.
A school without a substantive principal for six months is not one where things should be smooth-sailing. Even those with substantive ones are unable to secure school kitchens and pantries to the extent that rice, tubers of yam and others meant for the feeding of the students find their way into the houses of teaching and administrative staff.
Public servants are responsible for some of these unrests; let us be blunt about the subject on the table. The Upper Regional Director of Education should have replaced the retired principal and avoided the demonstration. Is he enjoying the acting capacity role he is playing – allowances and pecks of office et al to the extent that the engagement of a substantive principal eluded him?
The shortcomings which the students laid out as the causes of their actions should be looked into immediately and the responses used as a template in other institutions.
Public servants must sit up and avoid such laxities because their consequences will impact negatively on governance which should not be the case. Cynics often see such laxities as deliberate inactions on the part of public servants to trigger the consequences recorded in Bolgatanga.
The Students’ Representatives Council (SRC) must be made use of in gauging the feelings or even determining the temperature of the students’ body about pertinent issues.
If the school had a principal who was following happenings in the school and taking swift measures in response, we would not have been composing this commentary.
It was unfortunate that some of the students were arrested and detained albeit briefly. We salute the cops for not exhibiting underhandedness as they moved in to control the situation. Even if such occurred, they were not such as to cause injury to the students which is good. We are also appreciative that those arrested are now free.
At this stage we ask that an enquiry be instituted to determine what shortcomings were responsible for the incident: who were responsible for them and what measures should be taken to obviate a future recurrence. We think though that at the end of it all the regional director of education should be queried for the glaring lapses.
Above all, we recommend that appropriate action be taken to appoint a substantive principal for the school as an immediate response to the demands of the students.
Perhaps when all is done, an effective two-way means of communication would be established between the school authorities and the students’ representatives.