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TIN GODS IN OUR SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS

Ghana’s Educational system, as it pertains now, has undergone several metamorphoses. The
current system where one is expected to do a nine year basic schooling before proceeding to the
Senior High School for a three year stint, was preceded by the ‘O’ and ‘A’ level system. The ‘O’
and ‘A’ levels took five and two years respectively to complete. However, the management of
these institutions has not changed much since the ‘O’ and ‘A’ level periods. The basic structure of
the management of schools remains basically the same. Thus a head who is supported by two or
three assistants oversee the running of the school. They in turn are under the oversight
responsibility of a board.
The Head together with the assistants runs the school through the Senior Housemaster and the
Housemasters or mistresses on the administrative side and the Heads of Department and Form
masters and mistresses on the academic side. Over the years, what has become noticeably
worrying is the fact that most of these heads appear too powerful for comfort. Some arrogate to
themselves such inordinate powers that often lead to the abuse of the rights of teachers and
students. This phenomenon often breeds unnecessary resentment in the staff and ultimately leads
to ineffective and inefficient running of the school.
Another disturbing feature that pertains in most schools is the use of the ‘divide and rule’ style of
leadership by heads. The heads on assuming the reigns of leadership surround themselves with
sycophants they erroneously believe are loyal to them. What it means essentially is that as a
teacher in any such school, if you are not a favourite of the head or not a ‘loyalist’, you are
sidelined in the actual administration of the school. In such situations, special favours such as
key positions, promotions and specific assignments which come with some remuneration, are
directed towards only those in the circle of loyalists of the head whether or not they are
deserving of such posts or promotions.
The loyalists in return will do anything to please the boss including spying and sending reports
concerning any dissenting tendencies from wherever quarter. The teacher outside this circle
becomes virtually an ‘endangered species’ who can be cited for dissent anytime and attract
needless attention. The resultant effect of all of this is that the headmaster or headmistress
assumes a certain stature of importance and power which is inimical to the efficient

administration of the school. This is because it tends to kindle apathy and rebellious inclinations
in teachers who feel ignored and sidelined.
Obviously, this does not auger favourably for the smooth running of our second cycle
institutions; especially given that the Ghana Education Service (GES) by its very statutes, is
required to ensure that the teacher is given the necessary freedom to operate effectively. He must
feel at ease to carry out his teaching and other extra curricula duties devoid of any hindrances in
the form of veiled threats or intimidations from the top.
The blatant and shameless show of sycophancy exhibited by some teachers who may sometimes
be seeking favours from heads of institutions must be discouraged and condemned in no
uncertain terms. The education sphere is too elevated a terrain to accommodate boot lickers and
lapdogs seeking to satiate their parochial interests and ambitions at the expense of the efficient
running of our schools. Much as heads of institutions must be empowered with sufficient
authority to carry out their duties professionally and efficiently, the GES and relevant
stakeholders such as the MOE, boards of directors and the PTAs must work together to ensure
that there are checks and balances to prevent heads arrogating to themselves absolute powers
they should not have. For, as they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Source: Frederick Afful Badu

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