By Samuel Akapule, GNA
Bolgatanga, March 13, GNA - Alhaji Mohammed Haroon, the Northern Regional Director of Education, has advocated for the inclusion of the Child Protection Policy into the Teacher Training curriculum to help address the abuse of school children.
The Regional Director, who made the call at a Stakeholders’ workshop organized in Bolgatanga on the Child Protection Policy, said it would contribute significantly to addressing the abuse of school children.
He explained that once the trainees were equipped with the policy document at the training level, they would apply it in the various schools they would be teaching, thereby promoting and protecting children from abuse
He said to help confront the problem very well, there was also the urgent need to organize in-service training periodically for the teachers after completing their course to help remind them on the need to implement the Child Protection Policy.
The workshop on the Child Protection Policy, organized by the Navrongo–Bolgatanga Diocese in partnership with World Vision Ghana, attracted stakeholders including the Regional and District Directors of Education, Managers of the Catholic Education, Islamic and the Presbyterian Education units drawn from the Upper East and Northern Regions.
Mr Gregory Dery, the Child Protection and Advocacy Manager of World Vision Ghana (WVG) who took part in facilitating the programme, warned that as a Child focused NGO, WVG would not countenance with any teacher who is found abusing a child, particularly sexual exploitation.
Reverend Brother Francis Agoah, Province leader of the Presentation Brothers, the main facilitator of the programme, said research had proven that most child abuse incidents happened in homes with a small percentage of cases happening in institutions and organizations.
He said whatever form the abuse took was bad and impressed upon the stakeholders to fashion out strategies to create a safer space within the school environment to protect school pupils and students from abuse.
The Bishop of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese, Most Reverend Alfred Agyenta, who used the occasion to appeal to all Catholic Schools to implement the Child Protection Policy without further delay to help address the issue, disabused the minds of some people who claimed that the contents of the child protection policy was alien to African culture.
He disclosed that the Diocese had developed its own Child Policy Document, drawing its contents from the Child Protection and family welfare document developed by the Gender Ministry and UNICEF and also constituted Diocesan Child Safeguarding and Child Protection Teams to help address the phenomenon.
He stated that the Catholic Church as a way of complementing government’s effort to deliver quality education, had established 357 Schools in the Region made up of Kindergartens, primary, Junior High and Senior High Schools and a training college.
The Regional Manager of the Catholic Education Unit, Reverend Sister Bernardine Pemii, said as part of the Diocese’s contributions to end the menace, a lot of activities including the organization of training workshops on the Child Protection Policy had been organized for the Association of Catholic Teachers.
The Diocese, she noted, had also contributed in the areas of providing teaching and learning materials and also collaborated with other partners to provide mechanized boreholes to schools that were in dire need of water.