The Governing Board of Achimota School has withdrawn its application for stay of execution that would have enabled it maintain the decision not to admit Tyrone Iras Marhguy and Oheneba Kwaku Nkrabea, the two Rastafarian students.
With this development, the two students can report to the School, join their classmates and participate in all school activities.
A statement issued Wednesday, June 2, signed by the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Osei Kwame Agyeman, said, “while the Board remains committed to the appeal against the High Court ruling, it will withdraw the application for a stay of execution pending the determination of the appeal by a higher court.”
According to the Board, the decision stems from the outcome of consultation with other relevant stakeholders to seek the best way forward while taking into account the interest of all parties. “We have accordingly advised our Legal Counsel in this respect,” parts of its press statement read.
In March this year, Achimota School issued admission letters to the two students but indicated that they would only be enrolled on condition that they shave their dreadlocks in accordance with the School’s academic regulations .
However, on Monday, May 31, a Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court presided over by Justice Gifty Agyei Addo ruled that the fundamental human rights of the two students cannot be limited by the rules in question.
This was after the two Rastafarian students dragged the Achimota School Board of Governors, the Minister of Education, Ghana Education Service, and the Attorney General to court for refusing to enroll them.
Justice Gifty Agyei argued that she doesn’t think the Achimota School and proponents, including GES and the Attorney General’s Department, have made a compelling argument as to why those two students should not be admitted, especially given their rights to education as well as their rights to express their religious
But the School’s Governing Board issued a statement on Tuesday, June 1, stating its disagreement with the ruling and subsequent decision to appeal the ruling. “The School disagrees with the ruling of the court. The School Board has therefore directed its Lawyers to appeal against the ruling,” the statement said.
This notwithstanding, the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame in an interview with JoyNews Wednesday, June 2, revealed that Achimota School will admit the two Rastafarian students it denied admission after being advised to withdraw its stay of execution while contesting the court’s decision.
For him, the initiative is to enforce the President’s educational policy that “if students ought to go to school, the school ought to open its doors to them” including the two Rastafarian students in question.
He added that the Pre-Tertiary Education Act mandates Ghana Education Service as the body with powers to supervise all public schools, hence Achimota School cannot fail to heed to government’s call.
Also, the Education Minister, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum who described as surprising, the decision of the Governing Board of Achimota School to appeal the court ruling, insisted that the school cannot unilaterally take such a decision.
“I am very surprised. He cannot take that unilateral decision. I’m waiting for a full briefing of the Attorney General who I commend for going to court, so nobody can preempt us. So, Achimota Board, chill,” he said on Accra-based Metro TV Tuesday.